Myths and Evidence Regarding Melatonin Supplementation for Occasional Sleeplessness in the Pediatric Population

Pediatr Ann. 2021 Sep;50(9):e391-e395. doi: 10.3928/19382359-20210823-01. Epub 2021 Sep 1.


Occasional sleeplessness in children is common, with as many as 25% of all healthy children experiencing a problem sleeping at some point over the course of their childhood. Occasional sleeplessness is poorly understood, has a significant impact on quality of life in children and their families, and is often challenging to manage. There is substantial evidence supporting the safe and effective use of the widely available dietary supplement melatonin for children with chronic conditions. This article summarizes the views expressed in a recent Consensus Panel meeting convened to evaluate the use of melatonin in children, as well as the published scientific literature related to the effectiveness and safety of melatonin, with a focus on occasional sleeplessness in healthy children. We provide an evidence-based framework for the implementation of a standard process to effectively manage occasional sleeplessness in children and adolescents. Unsubstantiated concerns in the past may have limited melatonin's use in children with conditions for which the supplement may support a better sleep pattern and, by doing so, may help to improve quality of life. Melatonin dietary supplements using high quality standards may be provided to children together with cognitive-behavioral therapy after proper sleep evaluation and after improved sleep hygiene, family education, and sleep diary activities have failed to resolve sleep difficulties. [Pediatr Ann. 2021;50(9):e391-e395.].

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Melatonin* / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / drug therapy


  • Melatonin