The pediatrician at Vithas Hospital Lleida Pilar Riu has warned about the use of melatonin without a medical prescription in cases of childhood sleep problems.
The doctor recommends that parents pay attention to their children’s sleep and consult a pediatrician about any abnormalities they detect, Vithas Lleida reported in a statement.
“Sleep is important to ensure the proper functioning of the child and good physical, emotional and social development, as well as good school performance”, recalled Riu.
The lack of childhood sleep is attributed to different factors such as overexposure to screensthe adaptation of the schedules of minors to those of adults, and the lack of routines, among others.
On the other hand, he added that the abnormal situation caused by the pandemic has also increased exposure to screens and delayed bedtime.
Solution with risks
Riu has warned about the increase in the consumption of melatonin in the child population in recent years without control by a health professional, whichand “can be dangerous.”
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness, and its natural production increases at night to promote sleep.
However, excessive intake can cause serious side effects such as headache, nausea, daytime sleepiness, and behavioral problems.
Improve infant sleep
Dr. Riu recommends establishing a sleep routine adapted to each family: she suggests doing the same steps every evening to “prepare” the child to go to sleep.
It also emphasizes the importance of avoiding exposure to screens before going to sleep, especially in the 2-3 hours before, and proposes quiet activities that do not overstimulate children.