The Best Melatonin for Kids: Ticket to Dreamland

Child sleeping soundly


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Sleep. Vitamin S. Otherwise known as the missing piece in an otherwise semi-functional life. Sadly, sleep is one of those things that becomes scarce when kids enter the picture. If we can just help them get those zzzzzs, maybe we can catch a glimpse of Dreamland ourselves.

But before jumping to the supplements, check out your child’s nighttime routine. Kids thrive on routine. That's true whether you're working with feeding obstacles, getting dressed, or going to bed. A predictable routine helps them feel well-rested, setting children up for a successful day.

That being said, melatonin can be helpful to use if your child is suffering from a sleep disorder like insomnia or has an attention disorder like ADHD.

If you’d like to introduce melatonin into your child’s sleep routine, you’ve come to the right place. As a registered dietitian, I know a thing or two about the effects of supplements on the body. So I collaborated with the experts at Active.com to find the 8 best melatonin supplements for kids.

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Disclaimer: Supplements affect each person differently. Melatonin is known to increase the vividness of dreams. If your child has nightmares or night terrors, this might not be the right choice for you. If you want to try but you're concerned, here is a gentle tip: buy some tart cherry juice and try an ounce of that. Tart cherry juice contains a very small dose of melatonin, alongside other sleep-friendly compounds.

The Best Melatonin for Kids - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall - Natrol Kids Melatonin Sleep Aid

Natrol Kids Melatonin Sleep Aid

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 4 and up
  • Recommended dose: 1mg

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Natrol Kids Melatonin Sleep Aid comes in a few tempting varieties: Sleep, Sleep + Calm, and Sleep + Immune Health. Heads up—these have different doses of melatonin! These vegan gummies taste like candy so pay attention closely to how many get consumed. They’re also free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives.

I actually take the adult version of these for my own sleep issues and can report a good taste, texture, and effect.

What We Like

  • Tasty berry flavor
  • Low dose
  • Effective for many kids

What We Don't Like

  • Risk of taking too many (so tasty)
  • Not effective for some children

BUY: Natrol Kids Melatonin Sleep Aid

Best Melatonin Gummies for Kids - OLLY Kids Sleep

OLLY Kids Sleep

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 4 and up
  • Recommended dose: 0.5mg

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This low-dose, Razzberry-flavored OLLY gummy uses melatonin along with L-theanine (an amino acid), and extracts of chamomile, passionflower, and lemon balm to help encourage your little ones to get some rest.

At 0.5mg per gummy, the dose is very gentle. This makes for a great first choice when testing out melatonin supplements. The low dose also allows for experimentation, as the child can take a second dose if the first one isn't doing the trick.

What We Like

  • Low dose
  • Effective
  • Good flavor

What We Don't Like

  • Tempting for kids
  • Some kids may react

BUY: OLLY Kids Sleep

Best Liquid Melatonin for Kids - Vicks Pure ZZZ's Kids Melatonin Liquid

Vicks Pure ZZZ's Kids Melatonin Liquid

SPECS

  • Type: Liquid
  • Recommended age: 4 and up
  • Recommended dose: 1mg

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Vicks Pure ZZZ's in Natural Berry Flavor says they can send your child off to sleep more quickly with this fast-acting liquid. But, parents are torn just as with all melatonin products. A product that works well for one child is not going to work for another child. That's why sometimes it's best, as suggested in the article on probiotics, to get a few friends together and buy a few different options so you can try more while paying less.

I like that the liquid form is easier for children to take. Sometimes, gummies or tablets can pose a choking risk but this liquid goes down nice and easy.

What We Like

  • Comes in liquid form so the dose can be in-between measures very easily
  • Low dose
  • Free of dyes and alcohol

What We Don't Like

  • The taste is strong so some kids may need it diluted in juice

BUY: Vicks Pure ZZZ's Kids Melatonin

Best Natural Melatonin for Kids - Tired Teddi's Invisimix

Tired Teddi's Invisimix

SPECS

  • Type: Chewable
  • Recommended age: 2 and up
  • Recommended dose: 0.3mg

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Tired Teddi's is the sleepy teddy bear answer to Flintstone's. The cuddly bear shape delivers 0.3mg of melatonin along with chamomile, lemon balm, and lettuce in a bubblegum-flavored chewable tablet.

The company says Teddi's is great for ages two and up, but this registered dietitian says to be careful—it looks like a choking hazard so it may not be appropriate for kids under four.

What We Like

  • Low dose
  • Effective
  • Works for many adults as well

What We Don't Like

  • The taste
  • High price

BUY: Tired Teddi's Invisimix

Best Melatonin for Kids with Allergies - Zarbee's Kids 1mg

Zarbee’s Kids Melatonin Gummy

SPECS

  • Type: Chewable
  • Recommended age: 3 and up
  • Recommended dose: 1mg

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Zarbee's is a well-known name among kids' health products. Many of their products are allergen-friendly. This grape-flavored chewable tablet provides one milligram of melatonin. This is a great benefit if your child does well at that dose, but many parents report having more success after cutting the tablet in half. Other parents give their children three milligrams, which is the higher end of the recommended dose for kids. You'll have to experiment to find which dose is right for your child.

Kids like the taste and adults like the quiet time. But, be aware that the bottle isn’t childproof so like with any nutritional supplement or medication, keep it away from kids' reach.

What We Like

  • Effective
  • Easy to reduce or increase the dose
  • Nice flavor

What We Don't Like

  • Not a childproof bottle

BUY: Zarbee's Kids 1mg

Best Low Dose Melatonin for Kids - Wink Natural's Kids Liquid Drops

Wink Natural's Kids Liquid Drops

SPECS

  • Type: Liquid drops
  • Recommended age: 3 and up
  • Recommended dose: 1mg (per dropperful)

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Wink Natural Kids comes in liquid drops, but the one-milligram dose is for a full dropperful. Personalization of dose is very easy with this method, as you can easily cut a dose in thirds or halves as needed.

Well, by now you're familiar with the fact that for some unknown reason, a product that works great for you may not work very well for someone else, and vice versa. When this product works, it works really well. Some say the price is high, at about $0.36 per dose, but really, what's a good night of sleep worth?

What We Like

  • Dropper method is easy to administer and personalize
  • Berry taste
  • Good for younger kids–with pediatrician input

What We Don't Like

  • Might take longer to kick in than expected
  • High price

BUY: Wink Natural's Kids Liquid

Best Gluten-Free Melatonin for Kids - Zarbee's Kids Melatonin Gummy

Zarbee’s Kids Melatonin Gummy

SPECS

  • Type: Gummy
  • Recommended age: 3 and up
  • Recommended dose: 1mg

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So nice, we named them twice. This vegan berry gummy provides one-milligram melatonin per chew with a suggested dose of two to three gummies. That's pretty aggressive compared to these other products. As with other Zarbee's products, this one is allergen-free. Heads up, though—that doesn't mean it won't cause an allergic reaction. It just means it avoids all of the top allergens. These are super tasty, so be sure to hide them from kids who might go looking for something sweet.

Parents did notice the strength of that two to three-milligram dose. So when starting out, it might be helpful to cut the gummies in half or in quarters to reduce the dose given to the child. Too much melatonin could lead to nightmares or even night terrors.

What We Like

  • Tastes really good
  • Very effective
  • Easy to cut gummy to personalize dose

What We Don't Like

  • The gummies are 1 mg each, but the recommendation is 2-3 which is a lot for many kids

BUY: Zarbee's Kids Melatonin

Best Chewable Melatonin for Kids - LUNA Kids Nested Naturals

LUNA Kids Nested Naturals

SPECS

  • Type: Chewable tablet
  • Recommended age: 4 and up
  • Recommended dose: 0.2mg

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LUNA Kids is a supplement that brings together valerian root and chamomile to provide lasting sleep. If your child has a hard time swallowing cough syrup-like liquid (like other forms of melatonin come in), this chewable supplement might be a better option. The valerian root promotes long-lasting sedative effects so be sure to only give it to your child if they’re tucked in for a full night of rest (at least 8 hours for children).

What We Like

  • Low dose
  • Great taste
  • Effective

What We Don't Like

  • Valerian root can cause unwanted reactions
  • Recent changes to the formula that affect taste and effectiveness for some

BUY: LUNA Kids Nested Naturals

How to Choose Melatonin for Kids

First, be sure to ask your pediatrician or pediatric dietitian. Research is constantly advancing, and you know you'll be on top of the most current research by discussing it with your healthcare professional. Then, start slowly with a low dose and increase according to package instructions or your provider's advice. Always buy from a trusted source that specializes in supplements to ensure quality: Melatonin is a prescription drug in some other countries.

What is Melatonin

Otherwise known as “The Dracula Hormone”, melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the brain in response to darkness. That's why screen time at night can disrupt natural circadian rhythms and a melatonin supplement can help restore them (although you can't just pop a gummy right after turning off a device and expect miracles). The melatonin purchased is a synthetic version of the natural hormone. Melatonin can also do more than help with sleep, but other effects are not as well understood.

Is Melatonin Safe for Kids

It was thought for a while that taking a synthetic melatonin supplement might interfere with the brain's natural production of the hormone. Recent studies suggest that this is not an issue and that regular melatonin production continues right alongside the circulation of the synthetic version.

That being said, sleep concerns in children under the age of three are much more behavioral in nature and won't be helped with melatonin supplementation. Double-check the schedule, make sure bedtime is reasonable, increase predictability in the nighttime routine, and check for hidden sources of caffeine. And of course, check with your doctor.

Melatonin is safe when used appropriately, but should never be a stand-alone treatment or a substitute for healthy sleep practices. One more thing—keep these out of the reach of kids. Some of them taste really yummy. So it’s a good idea to hide them (where you'll remember).

FAQs About Melatonin for Kids


Can I give my child melatonin every night?

Yes, but…the research available shows that many concerns related to melatonin usage are unfounded. For example, doctors were concerned that supplementing melatonin would result in a decrease in natural melatonin production. But research has not supported that mechanism. However, there is a lot we are still learning about melatonin. Double-check your routine and other factors, and use melatonin supplementation as needed (not excessively). Also know that it's not a long-term solution.

What mg of melatonin is best for kids?

The one that works. But really, much like magnesium, there is a perfect magical dose for your child, and it's likely between 0.3mg and 3mg. Start low and gradually increase to find that sweet spot. If you've hit nightmares, you've gone too far.

When should I give my child melatonin?

It's best to have a solid and predictable routine. Within that routine, you'll give your child melatonin about 20-30 minutes before you expect them to be asleep. So if reading a book in bed is the final step of your nighttime routine, and if it takes 20 minutes, then give a melatonin dose right before getting in bed and hope for the best. The ideal is both cuddle time AND restful sleep.

Preschool and Kindergarten Lunch | Best Lunchbox for Kids | Healthy Snacks for Kids | Best Water Bottle for Kids | Best Vitamins for Kids | Best Probiotics for Kids | Best Melatonin for Kids | Best Thermometer for Kids | Best Deodorant for Kids | Best Sunscreen for Kids

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