Survey Reveals Alarming Trend: Nearly 46% Of Parents Use Melatonin To Help Kids Sleep

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Did you know parents use melatonin to help kids sleep? A recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has shed light on the growing trend of despite limited evidence of its efficacy in treating insomnia in healthy kids.

46% Of Parents Use Melatonin To Help Kids Sleep

Approximately 46% of parents surveyed admitted to giving melatonin to children under 13 to facilitate better sleep, while 30% had administered it to children over the age of 13.

Notably, fathers were found to be 13% more likely than mothers to use melatonin for older children, and parents aged 25 to 34 were the most common users for younger children.

Experts have expressed concerns about the widespread use of melatonin in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has emphasized that melatonin is considered a supplement and, as such, is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This lack of regulation has resulted in significant variations in melatonin content among different products, potentially causing unforeseen health risks. Additionally, there has been a substantial increase in accidental pediatric melatonin ingestions, with over 260,000 cases reported between 2012 and 2021, including tragic outcomes such as two fatalities.

The AAP recommends cautious use of melatonin and advises parents to consult with pediatricians before considering it as a sleep aid for their children. It is not intended as a primary solution but may be employed temporarily, in conjunction with establishing healthy sleep habits.

Pediatricians stress the importance of prioritizing good sleep hygiene, such as limiting screen time before bedtime, maintaining consistent sleep schedules, and creating calming bedtime routines, which include activities like reading or journaling.

Dr. Katie Lockwood, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, underscores the importance of understanding that most children do not require melatonin to sleep.

She suggests that it should be reserved for specific cases, particularly children with neurodevelopmental disorders who may benefit from it under professional guidance.

Dr. Danelle Fisher, a pediatrician and chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, argues that melatonin is often “overused” as a quick fix for sleep problems in children.

She believes that the root cause lies in the modern lifestyle, with excessive screen time and a fast-paced environment hindering children’s ability to wind down before bedtime. Dr. Fisher advocates for a focus on cultivating healthy sleep habits, including eliminating screens before bed and engaging in quieter activities to prepare the mind and body for restful sleep.

In conclusion, while melatonin may have a role in addressing sleep issues in children, experts unanimously stress the importance of emphasizing good sleep hygiene practices.

The overreliance on melatonin as a shortcut to solving sleep problems in children is discouraged, and parents are encouraged to consult healthcare professionals for guidance when considering its use. Building a foundation of healthy sleep habits remains the primary strategy for ensuring restful and consistent sleep for children.


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