Is it safe to use herbs or medications to help my child sleep?
There are many different types of herbs and medications that are supposed to help children get to sleep but few have any good rigorous scientific data to support these claims and some may cause harm. In general, avoid using herbs or medication to help your child sleep. Melatonin (a sleep hormone made by our brain) can help children (depending on age) get off to sleep but does not help them to re-settle after a night waking. Melatonin should only be used in children if a trial of behavioral strategies fails. It is thought to be generally safe. Some anti-histamine medications can also cause drowsiness in children. They should only be used in consultation with a health professional. They have the best results when used in conjunction with behavior management strategies and not as standalone treatments. Again, be sure to consult a health care professional if you are considering using any sort of supplement or medication to help your child sleep.