Is Melatonin Safe for Kids? Exploring Benefits and Risks

newborn sleeping

Sleep issues in children are not uncommon, and many parents search for solutions to help their kids get the rest they need. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, has become a popular choice. However, the question arises: is melatonin safe for kids? This blog explores the benefits and risks associated with melatonin use in children, providing a comprehensive guide for parents considering this option.

Understanding Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone secreted within the pineal gland of the brain. It assists in the maintenance of the circadian rhythm to show the body when it is time for sleep. They are synthesized in the evening till nighttime and reduced in the morning. Though it is sold as a dietary supplement, the supplement may be used, especially in children, under prescription.

Benefits of Melatonin for Kids

1. Regulating Sleep Patterns

 It is highly useful to use melatonin for children with sleep disorders or with disrupted sleep-wake cycles. It can assist their fast onset of sleep, increase total sleep time, and decrease the number of awakenings at night. This can be especially helpful for a child who has ADHD, autism, or sensory processing disorder as most of them are night owls and do not sleep.

2. Supporting Circadian Rhythms

Melatonin also assists the children’s internal clock back to normal in instances where one is disrupted for instance when traveling or working at night. This can help specifically in situations such as jet lag or shift work disorder.

3. Non-Habit Forming

Unlike some other sleep medicines, melatonin is not addictive as people are not likely to become dependent on it. It also makes it a much better position for parents who have to deal with their children developing dependence on sleep-inducing products.

Risks and Concerns

1. Lack of Long-Term Studies

Another issue most people don’t like is the absence of long-term effects when children are administered melatonin supplements. It has been reported that very short-term use of melatonin does not seem to cause any major harm; however, the long-term consequences of using melatonin are unknown. It is for this reason that some healthcare practitioners have reservations about recommending its use in the long term.

2. Possible Side Effects

Temporary side effects have also been reported in children who take Melatonin. Some of the side effects may include; Vertigo, headaches, nausea, and sleepiness during the day. That said, there are more severe side effects that are rare and they include; • Mood changes; • Hormonal imbalance. Before turning to melatonin supplements, it is advised that you keep a lookout for any negative reactions in your child if they are to be taken.

3. Dosage and Purity Concerns

 The exact dosage that will be effective for children is not very easy to find. Following a general rule is not possible and the degree depends on the age, weight, and sleeping problem of the child. Also, due to the lack of regulation, over-the-counter melatonin supplements in the market can be of low quality or pureness which makes dosages to be inaccurate.

At What Age Can Your Child Take Melatonin

Consulting a Healthcare Provider

It is recommended that you talk to your doctor before administering any melatonin to your child. It can be of assistance in establishing whether you should administer melatonin to your child and if so, how much of it should be given. They can also look for any side effects and make any alteration to the treatment regime when deemed necessary.

Non-Pharmacological Alternatives

Discuss other possibly useful strategies that can be employed to improve the quality of your child’s sleep. A good example of this is setting a daily time for sleeping and waking up, avoiding the use of screens while in bed, maintaining a cool, dark, and comfortable sleeping environment, and practicing relaxation procedures that will all help a person get a good night’s sleep without supplementing.


Therefore, the answer to the question that melatonin is safe for kids cannot be answered with a clear yes or no. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that melatonin has its pros and cons which have to be considered and discussed. It is strongly advisable to speak to the pediatrician before introducing any new supplement into the child’s diet and try non-drug interventions to treat sleep issues in the first place. Thus, using the tips described above, you can achieve the desired result and protect your child’s health.