Is it okay to give my preschooler (3 to 5 years old) melatonin?
You should always check with your child’s health care provider regarding the safety of giving any over-the-counter product to your little one. But, yes, pediatricians frequently recommend melatonin for children with sleep problems. If you and your child’s health provider decide that using melatonin makes sense for your preschooler, be sure to discuss what time you should give it and how much (the dose).
Melatonin is a hormone that naturally occurs in the body, regulating sleep-related systems among others (such as ones that control puberty-related changes). Short-term use of melatonin to address sleep difficulties in children (not babies) appears to be safe and well-tolerated. There is little research, though, on the long-term effects. In terms of side effects, the most common are daytime sleepiness, dizziness, and headaches.
Know, though, that use of melatonin should not replace good general sleep practices in terms of sleep routines and good sleep hygiene.
About Dr. Oliviero Bruni