For us parents, we know firsthand what happens when kiddos don’t get enough quality shut-eye. Tantrums, attitudes, and irritability galore —a sleepless night can make all the difference between a great day and a terrible one.
That being said, sometimes getting our little monsters to close their peepers so they can drift off to dreamland is no easy feat. For this reason, many parents turn to sleep aids for kids — but are they safe?
Let’s find out!
The Deets On Sleep Aids For Kids
Your little one is screaming because they don’t want to hit the hay. Whether that be because they want to stay up with their favorite older sibling to watch movies till dawn or they’re simply so incredibly tired that they’re restless. Whatever the case may be, the clock is ticking, and if you can’t get your tiny tot to fall fast asleep, you know that tomorrow will be a very, very long day.
What’s a parent to do?
Melatonin For Children
One of the most popular and frequently prescribed sleep aids is melatonin — a hormone that occurs naturally in the body but can also be made synthetically for medical purposes.
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Melatonin supplements are often used by adults who are struggling with jet lag and other minor sleep troubles. Some doctors also recommend them for kids. However, there has been very little research on melatonin supplement use in children.
OK — What Does Current Research Say?
Most studies show that short-term melatonin use is generally regarded as safe for kids with little to no side effects. As for the long-term side effects of melatonin, health professionals aren’t too sure. What we are sure of, though, is that melatonin supplements are not approved for use in children by the FDA.
Benadryl For Children
Chances are you’ve experienced Benadryl before and its drowsy effects. Marketed to relieve symptoms of upper respiratory allergies and hay fever, according to a recent poll of more than 26,000 mamas, one in five admitted to giving their little one’s medicine like Benadryl to get them to snoozeville.
While we can totally understand wanting to get some peace and quiet (we’ve all been there, mamas!), some of the side effects of this popular antihistamine include impaired school performance, drowsiness, agitation, hallucinations, and in rare cases, seizures and even death.
While Benadryl at the appropriate dose can be safe for kids to combat uncomfortable allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, sneezing, or hives, it should never be used as a sleep aid— especially for long-term use.
How To Get Your Little Monsters to Sleep
Sleep is so undeniably imperative for good health— which is exactly why many parents look to sleep aids when they can’t get their kids to bed. But the truth is that we have very little research on the effects of sleep aids for children, so it’s best to skip them altogether.
If you’re struggling to get your kiddo to bed, put aside the prescription drugs or medication and check out these natural sleep remedies and tips below!
Try a Weighted Blanket
According to recent research, weighted blanks have been shown to improve sleep quality, reduce stress, improve daytime focus and mood, as well as ease symptoms associated with sensory processing disorders.
Note: Kiddos under three should not use weighted blankets.
Avoid Cat Naps Before Bedtime
It may seem pretty obvious, but napping too long or too close to bedtime may prevent kids from being able to fall asleep when they truly need to. Most kids stop taking naps by the time they reach five years old, but if your little one is still napping, try to keep the cat naps to no longer than 20 minutes and no later than 2 PM.
Use Essential Oils
Scents can have an extremely positive effect on mood, stress reduction, and sleep enhancement. Diffuse calming essential oils that are safe for kids like lavender and chamomile.
You can also try essential oils to help kids sleep! Essential oils have been the trick up parents’ sleeves for a long time, and it’s easy to see why. Essential oils like lavender are a great way to encourage natural relaxation.
A Better Bedtime
Sleep aids may help your little one catch some zzz’s sooner rather than later, but are the side effects really worth it?
Avoid giving your favorite little people in the world icky chemicals that haven’t been well studied, and stick with natural sleeping remedies. For example, all-natural essential oils are gentle and powerfully protective (just like parents!). Every essential oil has a different purpose, and many can be mixed to create an extra pleasing aroma.
Made with your kids in mind for parents just like you—we use the most effective essential oil combinations which are perfectly safe for your little ones.