Health + Safety

Parents Use Melatonin to Get Kids to Sleep: Is It Safe?

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Getting enough sleep is crucial for young children, with research showing sleep problems may lead to behavioral problems or other health risks later in life.

CBS affiliate KHOU in Houston reports some parents are turning to a supplement called melatonin to get their kids to bed at night.

“He’d just be up all night, all wound up, not able to sleep,” Heather Huddleston, mother of 5-year-old Blake, told KHOU.

After mixing the supplement into the boy’s juice, he’s shown improvement, his mom said.

“He’s sleeping better, he’s eating better, it’s helped regulate his sleep cycles,” Huddleston said.

Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body that adjusts our internal clock. Synthetic melatonin is made in pill form or in forms that can be placed in the cheek or under the tongue.

Common side effects from taking melatonin include daytime sleepiness, dizziness and headaches according to Dr. Brent A. Bauer, director of the department of internal medicine’s complementary and integrative medicine program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Less common symptoms may include abdominal discomfort, anxiety, irritability, confusion and short-lasting feelings of depression.