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Will melatonin help a 2-year-old sleep better?

Little boy asleep on his back.

No insomnia here. (Photo: Flickr/Amanda Truss)

Will melatonin help a 2-year-old sleep better?

September 14, 2012

Q: My 2-year-old son is having trouble with insomnia. Are there any benefits of using melatonin for regulating sleep? Any side effects?
   
A: Melatonin can be used in children to help treat autism, but I don't recommend it for insomnia in children that young.  The child's brain is developing, and there's no need to supplement or tamper with it.

I would recommend alternate approaches like fixing his bedtime or telling him a bedtime story, if possible. You can also reduce television time and maybe use different lights in the bedroom.

Melatonin can carry lots of side effects, including dizziness, confusion, nightmares, abdominal cramps, sleep-walking, and vomiting.

-- Answer from Dr. Naeem, a physician on JustAnswer.

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