Tens of thousands of children and young people are being given the hormone melatonin to help them sleep, prompting concern that the medicine is being handed out too readily with little evidence of its long-term effectiveness or safety.
Melatonin, which is produced naturally by the body in dark environments to help sleep preparations, has been authorised for use by people aged over 55. It has been hailed as a less addictive alternative to insomnia drug treatments.
Despite the fact it is not licensed for use by any other age group, 117,085 people under 18 were given melatonin “off label” – the term used for when a drug is given for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group – to aid sleep in the 2017-18 financial year. In the first four months of the current financial year, 69,280 prescriptions were given to under-18s.
The WEBMD verdict is this: Melatonin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately, long-term.Melatonin has been used safely for up to 2 years in some people. However, it can cause some side effects including headache, short-term feelings of depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, and irritability..
But why the overwhelming need? What is the issue within America and the developed world that is leading to such awful sleep problems?
Before trying sleep aids, return to basics like establishing a regular sleep schedule, Tsai said. She sympathizes with parents, and in the last five years has seen an influx of teens in her own sleep clinic fighting some serious emotional battles.
“There’s more electronic usage and I feel like our teens have higher rates of anxiety and/or depression and that plays a role in our sleep,” she said.
Afraid of the effects of melatonin and effectiveness in general? Maybe CBD gummies are the way to go instead.
The first night I took the gummies, I was convinced they worked. I felt less stressed on the Sunday night before work and within thirty to forty minutes after getting into bed I was asleep. However, my success was short-lived. I don’t know if I abused the gummies by taking them in the day time (when I was also stressed) or built a nightly tolerance, but after a week or so, I was awake again. The 10mg of cbd oil that the Sunday Scaries contained was not doing it for me anymore.
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