Melatonin : More Risk than Reward?
It’s been so long since anyone in your home has had a good night’s sleep that you’d do just about anything to help your little one rest. Well, maybe not anything; after all, you only want what’s best for your little one.
But natural alternatives are safe, right? So you turn to melatonin.
You’ve heard about it from friends, seen it used in television shows and movies, and maybe even heard mention of it at the pediatrician’s office. It seems to literally be a magic pill: all natural, safe, and sleep inducing.
But is it?
Will Melatonin Help My Baby Sleep Well?
Quite possibly. But that’s not the question you really need to be asking.
The real question is this: Is melatonin the best choice for my baby? Let’s take a look.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that aids in relaxation and sleep. It is secreted by the brain and impacts the natural rhythms of sleep and awake time.
Is Taking Synthetic Melatonin Going To Help With Sleep?
Here’s where it gets interesting. While anecdotal evidence abounds, actual scientific tests reveal that melatonin actually isn’t the cure all sleep pill it is touted to be.
Some studies show promise for the use of melatonin in shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and reducing the number of awakenings, but not necessarily total sleep time. Other studies show no benefit at all with melatonin.
The overwhelming conclusion is that melatonin can help you get over jet lag, adjust to a new work schedule, and even fall asleep faster. But it can’t keep you asleep longer, improve the quality of the sleep you get, or help you awake more refreshed.
Is Melatonin Safe?
There haven’t been any long term studies one way or the other. But it is the only hormone not regulated by prescription, and that’s a bit disconcerting.
Melatonin is not regulated in any way by the FDA.
A recent news study reveals:
“It’s possibly thought to affect growth, to affect sexual development and puberty and a lot of different effects,” Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains. “It is a hormone and it definitely can have these severe interactions that you might not think of just looking at the pill on the counter and buying it over the counter thinking it is safe.”
Dr. Johnson-Arbor cites studies that melatonin is clinically proven to help children with specific disabilities like autism but has not yet been proven to be healthy for children without disabilities.
The conclusions about its safety are inconclusive, and we both know you don’t want to trust your child’s health and development into the hands of an inconclusive study.
But your precious baby still needs sleep.
What Will Help My Baby Sleep Better?
Your baby doesn’t need a magic pill; your baby needs to learn healthy sleep habits.
Healthy sleep habits learned at a young age lay a foundation for a lifetime of refreshing, healthy sleep. This is what your child actually needs.
You, mom and dad, are the only ones who can give your little one what’s best. Healthy sleep habits don’t come in the form of a pill and there’s no pixie dust I can mail you (believe me, I would if I could!).
But you aren’t doing this alone. That’s where Sleep Wise Consulting can help.
Check out the wealth of free resources here on our site and reach out to us. We would love to work with you on an individual basis and help you teach your little one the sleep habits they (and you!) so desperately need.
Don’t let exhaustion and overwhelm lead you toward a choice that isn’t a long term solution or a healthy one. Instead, let us take the guess work out and tailor make a solution for you and your child, based on the needs in your family.
That is a natural, healthy, and risk-free solution to getting more sleep.