Rise in melatonin's use as sleep aid for children

Even preschoolers have been given the jet lag treatment to doze off, say paediatricians

Melatonin is increasingly being used as a sleep aid for primary school-aged and teenage children, paediatricians say.

Professor Harriet Hiscock, at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, has reportedly said she had seen increased use of melatonin for children, even in preschoolers.

“It’s growing in popularity across both primary-school age and teenage children, and there’s some use of it in preschool children as well,” Professor Hiscock said in a Fairfax Media report.

“The cat’s well and truly out of the bag — parents are good at talking [with each other].”

Melatonin is a treatment for jet lag and insomnia, and is a schedule 4 drug in Australia.

Dr Maree Barnes, immediate past president at the Australasian Sleep Association, said she’d also seen a significant increase in melatonin as a sleep aid among adults, and more recently, children.

“I’ve been doing this for