We all know, sleeplessness or broken sleep can lead to many kinds of debilitating health conditions. That is why young children who experience disturbed or interrupted sleep are naturally a huge cause of distress for their parents, because of the fact that toddlers have weaker bodies, compared to adults. Taken in such a light, what’s the outlook on using melatonin for toddlers? Is it good… or bad?
Prone to Overstimulation
Most children are highly susceptible to getting over stimulated because of their immature nervous systems and mental and psychological make-up. On their own, these children can experience sleep disorders a lot. However, even children who are of a more relaxed, retiring, or calmer nature can also have bouts with disturbed sleep. Part of it is often due to the changing of the seasons, as well as environmental changes happening all around the world.
For example, hotter days and nights make it difficult for children to sleep, particularly infants and toddlers. Longer daylight hours can also make young children fretful and tense during their mandated sleeping hours.
Numerous parents and caregivers of young children have consulted their health care providers about the use of sleep aids. Melatonin is among those which has been popular, because it is not regulated, being made from a natural substance.
The pineal gland is what manufactures melatonin naturally inside our bodies. The hormone is released by the gland in response to factors such as the amount of ambient light present, and the physical and mental condition of the body at any given time. So, if you are feeling fatigued for example, and you are working in dim surroundings, your mind would work in tandem with your body and stimulate your pineal gland to release more melatonin which, in turn, would make you sleepy.
A lot of times, however, adults are able to bypass this natural progression through the use of stimulants such as caffeine. Overdependence on such stimulants will then cause them to experience sleep disorders. But what about toddlers who don’t intentionally try to disrupt their regular sleep patterns? They aren’t supposed to go through life sleep deprived, otherwise, their health will suffer a lot. Should melatonin for toddlers be given, then?
Melatonin for Toddlers Pros and Cons
The main reason that melatonin has supporters is that it is a natural hormone (even if the melatonin sleep aids may be synthetically manufactured). Being a natural hormone, its supporters believe that it is much better than the chemicals used in the manufacture of certain prescription drugs to combat sleeplessness.
To a certain extent, that could be true for adults. However, when melatonin is administered to very young children, there are two major considerations involved: dosage and the effect of the hormone on the development of the children.
Very young children are still developing, and barring any unforeseen tragic life circumstances, will continue to develop until adulthood. Unlike most adults, the bodies and minds of toddlers and even teenagers might not be prepared to handle added melatonin (or melatonin that is in excess of what is produced by their bodies naturally).
There are really valid reasons for concern, and these were elucidated by Dr. David Sumati in a recent interview. So, if you are planning to use melatonin for toddlers, think many times over and weigh your options. Remember, in any controversial matter, there are always two sides to a story.