Title: Concerns Rise as Study Reveals High Usage of Sleeping Supplements Among School-Aged Children
According to a recent study by the University of Colorado Boulder, a staggering 20 percent of school-aged children are consuming powerful sleeping supplements, raising concerns among experts. The study analyzed data from 993 children, aged one to 13, and found that the consumption of melatonin, a popular sleep aid, significantly increased with age.
The highest prevalence of melatonin use was reported among 10- to 13-year-olds, with 19.4 percent of parents stating that their child had taken the sleep aid in the previous 30 days. Surprisingly, the second-highest prevalence was among five- to nine-year-olds, with 18.5 percent of parents reporting melatonin use.
Melatonin supplements, available over the counter in the US as dietary supplements, have seen a significant surge in sales from 2017 to 2020. However, the lack of regulation in the industry has raised concerns as some products often contain higher doses than stated on the label, potentially leading to side effects such as excessive sleepiness and high blood pressure.
This study has shed light on the urgent need for further research into the long-term effects of melatonin use in children. While some scientists have expressed concerns that giving melatonin to young children could interfere with their development and onset of puberty, research on this topic remains limited and inconsistent.
To add to the growing concerns, the increasing availability of melatonin supplements in child-friendly gummy form has raised the risk of accidental ingestion by children. In fact, reports of melatonin ingestion to poison control centers have skyrocketed by 530 percent, majority in children under the age of five.
Experts are urging caution when using melatonin and recommend exploring behavioral changes as a first line of action before resorting to supplementation. Despite its popularity, melatonin should not be considered a quick fix solution for children’s sleep problems.
The findings of this study highlight the pressing need for more regulation and research on the use of melatonin in children. Parents and healthcare professionals should remain vigilant and informed, ensuring the safety and well-being of children’s sleep habits.