If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Does melatonin help your child sleep better?
A 2020 study titled “Efficacy and safety of melatonin for sleep onset insomnia in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” attempted to answer this question. Out of 550 possible studies, they identified only 7 that met the inclusion criteria of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) that is the gold standard to determine whether something works better than a placebo. All the subjects were between 6-18 years of age and almost all subjects also had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Compared to placebo, the children receiving melatonin fell asleep earlier and had longer night sleep duration.The treatment duration was about 2-3 weeks. Thus, we do not know if melatonin is effective therapy in children without ADHD or if the effectiveness persists for a long duration.
This study prompted me to search for research in children 5 years and younger who had sleeping problems but no other diagnosable issues.
Was I able to find any scientific evidence (a RCT) that melatonin helped younger children sleep better?
Was I able to find any scientific evidence that melatonin was safe for young children?
The answer to both questions was no!
Warning: Between 2012-2021, accidental melatonin ingestions (poisoning) of children increased 530% (from 8,000 to 52,500): 5 children required mechanical ventilation and 2 died.