Due to an increase in accidental poisonings, parents are being advised against administering melatonin to their kids. As melatonin gains popularity, the number of kids who end up in the hospital after taking it has increased by six times. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has rolled a warning that parents should see a healthcare provider before providing melatonin or any other supplement to children.
The human brain releases the hormone melatonin in reaction to darkness. It helps in sleep as well as the timing of the body’s circadian rhythms. Exposure to light into the night can prevent melatonin generation. Melatonin is thought to have more functions in the body than just promoting sleep, according to research.
The vice chair of the AASM public safety committee, Dr. Muhammad Adeel Rishi, stated in a news release that while melatonin may be helpful in treating some sleep-wake disorders, such as jet lag, there is considerably less evidence that it may make healthy children or adults fall asleep more quickly. According to Medscape Medical News, people of all ages have been using melatonin more frequently during the past 20 years. Due to the growing use, there have been increased reports of melatonin overdose, calls at poison control centers, and visits to children’s emergency rooms.
It is easy to get melatonin over the counter. Although it is advertised as a sleep aid, the AASM warns that there is little proof that using it as a supplement to treat healthy children’s sleeplessness is useful. The fact that the supplement is offered in gummy or chewable form and comes in pleasant flavors like fruit punch, experts warn, makes it appealing to kids. Even though melatonin overdose seldom results in death, more severe occurrences might result in extremely low blood pressure, confusion, and tremors.
The Food and Drug Administration guarantees the safety of melatonin only to the extent that it can demonstrate that the product is not safe only in an event when it appears to be harming individuals, at which point it will take legal action against the manufacturer.
Dr. Rishi advises that parents should focus on helping their children develop excellent sleep habits, such as setting a consistent bedtime and wake time, having a nightly routine, and limiting screen time as nighttime approaches, rather than resorting to melatonin.