A Staggering Amount Kids Now Use Melatonin
Nearly 1 in 5 school-aged children and preteens take Melatonin to help them sleep.
A recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics by CU Boulder reveals a significant rise in melatonin use among kids.
Even some preschoolers are being given the hormone for sleep.
The safety and effectiveness of melatonin in kids remain uncertain due to limited research and lax FDA regulation of dietary supplements.
Lead author Lauren Hartstein from CU Boulder emphasizes the need for more research before confirming the long-term safety of melatonin for kids.
Despite being a natural sleep signal produced in the body, melatonin's over-the-counter availability in the US raises concerns, especially as it's increasingly given in child-friendly forms like gummies.
A survey conducted in 2023 showed that melatonin use was prevalent among various age groups, with dosages increasing with age.
However, discrepancies in melatonin content in products and potential unknown additives raise red flags about what parents are giving their children.
The study suggests consulting a pediatrician before considering melatonin and exploring non-medication solutions first.
While melatonin might help in specific cases, its widespread use among children could mask underlying sleep issues needing attention.
The authors stress caution in using melatonin, especially considering its potential impact on young, developing bodies and how it might inadvertently encourage reliance on pills for sleep problems.
While it can aid temporarily, experts recommend it only under strict supervision and as a secondary option after behavioral changes.
Ultimately, the widespread use of melatonin points to a need for addressing root sleep problems rather than merely treating symptoms.
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