Sleep Dilemma Melatonin Trend: Parental melatonin tablet prescription to preschoolers in the US is concerning, despite lack of evidence. The percentage of school-aged children and pre-teens who use melatonin to sleep has increased from 1.3 percent five years ago. Melatonin may be safe for children, but further research is needed to prove its long-term safety.
Sleep and development expert Lauren Hartstein of the University of Colorado Boulder warns parents that they give children melatonin too early and too long.. The US classified melatonin as a dietary supplement, subject to fewer rules and available without an FDA prescription, unlike many other countries.
The study found that children under 5 take up to 2 mg, while those 10 to 13 receive 10 mg, often exceeding 12 months.. Concerns about the lack of regulation are further compounded by a significant increase in pediatric cases of melatonin ingestion reported to poison control centers, rising by 530 percent between 2012 and 2021, primarily involving children under 5.
A recent examination of 25 US-sold melatonin gummies found that 22 misreported melatonin content, with one containing more than three times the labeled dose. While there is evidence supporting melatonin supplementation for improved sleep in individuals with autism, its effectiveness, appropriate dosage, and long-term safety in other populations remain uncertain.
Researchers express apprehension about the high prevalence of melatonin use in children, suggesting potential underlying sleep disruptions that warrant proper diagnosis and treatment. The study underscores the importance of raising awareness among parents and clinicians about the potential risks associated with the widespread use of melatonin in children.