Canadian paediatricians are worried people are using melatonin as a natural sleep aid and it is potentially risky for healthy children.
Malatonin or the ‘magic pill’ may be linked to delaying puberty in children who have taken the drug for a long time. Melatonin supplements contain between 25 to 50 times as much melatonin as the body makes naturally at night.
Toronto paediatrician Dr. Marvin Gans suggests melatonin to families of children with autism or ADHD has been a godsend.
Dr. Shelly Weiss, a neurologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, said for children with neurologic problems, such as autism and cerebral palsy, melatonin, combined with behavioural strategies, definitely helped them to sleep.
Gans said it was also fine for short-term circumstances like jet lag, but he cautioned against long-term use in children without neurological problems since its long-term effects haven’t been fully studied.
Healthy a,b,c,d,e,f,g sleep tips for children:
a) the same bedtimes and wake times every day
b) quiet time one to two hours before bedtime (time for parents to spend time with children)
c) the same bedtime routine
d) comfortable, quiet, clean, dark bedroom (night light is fine)
e) no television or electronics in the bedroom.
f ) avoid foods and drinks with caffeine from mid afternoon
g) regular day time exercise