Article written by Joe Palinsky
Sleep is a luxury that not everyone can afford. Try as they might, there are countless people across the planet who toss and turn in their beds until sunrise. Though this is a common problem in adults, it is also an issue many children experience on a regular basis. If your little ones are unable to sleep through the night, it’s a good idea to consider your options.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It is responsible for helping regulate one’s cycle of sleep. Though the body produces this hormone naturally, melatonin supplements are a common solution for adults who are not sleeping well. While this may seem like a practical idea for an adult, you might be hesitant to offer your children the same answer when they have difficulty catching some shut-eye. To understand whether it is right for your kids, be sure to look over what the experts are saying.
Starting With Dosage
Many drugs and supplemental products are problematic for children to ingest. Though these pills are fine for adults with fully-developed systems, a number of chemicals found in specific pharmaceuticals can inhibit growth in a child. With melatonin, this is the main argument made. Though there are still no concrete findings on whether or not melatonin impacts children in a negative way, medical experts believe it is better to approach this task from the right perspective.
Adults tend to purchase melatonin over the counter from pharmacies or health supplement establishments. This is fine for grown individuals but it can prove trickier for kids. To get the best solution, you need to first visit with your child’s pediatrician. Speaking with a healthcare professional can open you up to all possible solutions to the problem. If the doctor believes melatonin is the answer, then he or she can prescribe a specific dosage that works appropriately. Prescription melatonin comes in smaller dosages, allowing it to work its magic without overloading your child with too much melatonin.
Serious and Simple
Though melatonin is one of a number of solutions available to parents who are trying to get their children to sleep, it is important to take a closer look at when you should avoid using it altogether. When the summer has come to a close and school is around the corner, you might notice that your children are having a difficult time hitting the hay. This could be due to the excitement of the coming school year or nerves about seeing friends for the first time in months.
Situational sleep problems like this tend to come and go. Once your child has gotten back into the swing of the school year, he or she should return to normalcy with sleeping. Short-term sleeping problems usually resolve themselves and are caused by environmental factors that are not always present. When you first notice your child is not sleeping right, do not take immediate action. Allow this to carry on for a few days to see if it persists. If so, you need to contact your child’s doctor to start finding an appropriate solution.
Melatonin is a wonderful option for adults who are struggling with insomnia or other sleep-related ailments. For children, it might be best to examine alternatives first. Take a look at your child’s habits and see what might be causing the sleepless nights. In many cases, diet and exercise can change the way a child falls asleep. According to most experts, children need to be up for around twelve hours each day and need to be physically engaged for at least one hour. Inactive children who do not get outside often might deal with insomnia from not getting out enough.
Sleep is incredibly important to the human mind, body, and spirit. When you’re dealing with children who don’t seem to fall asleep, you might need to take action. Examine your child’s habits and see how long insomnia persists. When you feel like all of your options have been exhausted, visit with your child’s primary care physician and learn more about what melatonin might be able to offer.
Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.