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Melatonin is increasingly administered to children. For “sleep problems”

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Almost every fifth American child under the age of 14 takes melatonin, according to the results of a study conducted by scientists from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Experts emphasize, however, that “many sleep problems can be managed more effectively by changing the child’s schedule or habits.”

Naturally, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland. This hormone plays a significant role in regulating the circadian cycle. It makes falling asleep easier, reduces the number of awakenings at night, and improves the quality of sleep. It is also available in a variety of dietary supplements. In the United States, these drugs are sold without a prescription, and their popularity is growing – according to new research, also among children.

According to scientists from the University of Colorado in Boulder, melatonin supplements are given to almost every fifth American child under 14 years of age. The highest percentage of use of these drugs in minors was observed among teenagers aged 10-13. It amounted to 19.4 percent. For children aged 5 to 9, it was 0.9 percentage points lower. In the age group from 1 to 4 years, it reached almost 6 percent – it was stated in their study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Melatonin is becoming more and more popular among children in the USA

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At the time of the study, children from the youngest age group had been taking melatonin for one year on average. In the case of primary school students, the period of taking sleep-regulating supplements was on average 18 months, and in the case of children between 10 and 13 years of age, 21 months, American scientists report. They reached these findings thanks to a survey conducted among 993 parents.

SEE ALSO: Why do women wake up at 3:29 a.m.? Researchers on a common problem

Giving children under 13 years of age melatonin supplements was declared by 46 percent of surveyed parents.Shutterstock

As the authors of the study note, due to the small sample size, its results may not be representative of the population of the entire United States. In a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted earlier this year, 46 percent of surveyed parents declared giving children under 13 years of age melatonin supplements. According to the academy’s recommendations, published on its website, the possible administration of melatonin to children should be consulted with a doctor in advance to determine the “dose and period of supplementation”. At the same time, the academy emphasizes that “many sleep problems can be more effectively managed by changing the child’s schedule or habits.”

SEE ALSO: On your back, stomach or side? What position is best to sleep in?

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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