August 15, 2022

Healty Care

The Healthy Lovers

8 Best Melatonin Products That Are Safe for Kids

9 min read

According to some research, an estimated 25% of all children and 75% of children with neurological disorders experience difficulties sleeping (1).

If your child regularly has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may be considering a melatonin supplement (1).

This article will review the safety and dosage recommendations of melatonin for kids and provide a list of dietitian- and Healthline-approved picks for the best kid-friendly melatonin supplements.

Melatonin is a hormone your body produces that plays an important role in your circadian rhythm — your body’s internal clock that correlates with sleep and wake cycles (2).

Melatonin also naturally occurs in several foods, including eggs, fish, milk, rice, and some fruits and vegetables (3).

When used as a supplement, melatonin has been shown to improve an individual’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep, which is why it’s often used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia (2).

Some research has found melatonin to be both safe and effective for kids with sleep disorders and neurological conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (4, 5, 6).

However, there is not yet enough available research to determine an appropriate dose for kids based on age and severity of sleep issues (4).

Additionally, no research currently supports the effectiveness and safety of melatonin supplements in infants. It’s best to avoid giving infants melatonin unless under the direct supervision of a pediatrician or pediatric registered dietitian.

Some products are suitable for children over age 1, though most are recommended only for kids over age 3 or 4.

Finally, keep in mind that experts recommend trying other sleep interventions, such as developing a consistent bedtime routine, before giving your child a melatonin supplement (7, 8).

Potential side effects

Potential side effects of melatonin supplements include drowsiness the following morning and an increase in urination at night (1, 8).

While no serious adverse effects have been observed at small doses, more research is needed on the long-term safety of melatonin supplementation in kids (9).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends starting with a low dose of just 0.5–1 mg, 30–90 minutes before bedtime. The AAP also states that most children will not need doses higher than 3–6 mg (8).

It’s important to talk with your pediatrician to determine an appropriate dose for your child.

We chose the best melatonin products for kids based on the following criteria:

  • Type: We included gummy, chewable, and liquid supplements.
  • Price: We included melatonin products to suit a variety of budgets.
  • Recommended age: We included products that are appropriate for toddlers and for older, school-aged children.
  • Quality: We looked for melatonin products that have been third-party tested and contain minimal amounts of artificial additives such as colors, flavors, and sweeteners.
  • Vetting: The supplements on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

Best overall

Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies

  • Price range: $
  • Dose: 1 mg
  • Type: gummy
  • Recommended age: 4 years and older

Natrol Kids Melatonin Gummies are our pick for the best overall because they’re third-party tested, affordable, and free from artificial additives.

The gummies are berry-flavored, sweetened with tapioca syrup and cane sugar, and free from major allergens. They’re also non-GMO, vegetarian-friendly, and gelatin-free.

Natrol recommends taking 1 gummy 20–30 minutes before bedtime.

This melatonin product has been third-party tested by ConsumerLab and is produced in facilities that adhere to the current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs), a set of standards put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Best chewable

Nested Naturals LUNA Kids

  • Price range: $$
  • Dose: 0.2 mg
  • Type: chewable tablet
  • Recommended age: 4 years and older

LUNA Kids is designed for kids 4 years and older and contains just 0.2 mg of melatonin, making it a great choice if your pediatrician recommends a low dose for your child.

It comes in a tropical berry-flavored chewable tablet that is naturally sweetened with stevia and is meant to be taken 30 minutes before bedtime.

In addition to melatonin, the supplement includes lemon balm powder, valerian root powder, and chamomile flower powder.

Limited research suggests that lemon balm may help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, though more research on its use for sleep in children is needed (10).

Valerian root has also been found to promote sleep. However, while it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, research on its use in children is limited (11, 12).

It’s worth noting that this product also contains xylitol, a sugar alcohol that is unsafe for pets and can cause stomach upset in people when taken in large amounts (13).

LUNA Kids is vegan, non-GMO, and third-party tested for purity and potency.

Best powder

Tired Teddies Invisimix

  • Price range: $$
  • Dose: 0.3 mg
  • Type: powder
  • Recommended age: 2 years and older

Tired Teddies Invisimix is a powdered supplement that contains a lower dose of melatonin.

The flavorless powder comes in a capsule form that is meant to be opened and mixed into any food or beverage 30–40 minutes before bedtime for kids ages 2 and older.

In addition to melatonin, the supplement contains 100 mg of a proprietary blend made up of chamomile, lemon balm, and lettuce.

The manufacturer does not list the amount of each specific ingredient in the proprietary blend. Therefore, the product isn’t a good option if your child has a sensitivity to any of the ingredients.

This powder is produced in an NSF-certified facility to ensure purity, potency, and safe manufacturing practices.

Best gummies

Vivanaturals Melatonin Gummies for Kids

  • Price range: $
  • Dose: 1 mg
  • Type: gummy
  • Recommended age: 3 years and older

These vegan-friendly gummies contain 1 mg of melatonin and are designed for kids ages 3 and older.

These strawberry-flavored gummies are also certified gluten-free and sweetened with tapioca syrup and cane sugar.

One gummy can be taken 30 minutes before bedtime.

Vivanaturals Melatonin Gummies for Kids are third-party tested, though the name of the testing organization isn’t disclosed.

Best low dose gummies

OLLY Kids Sleep

  • Price range: $$$
  • Dose: 0.5 mg
  • Type: gummy
  • Recommended age: 4 years and older

OLLY Kids Sleep gummies are certified gluten-free and come in a razzberry flavor that is sweetened with glucose syrup and beet sugar. They provide a lower dose per serving than the gummies from Vivanaturals.

According to the label, 1–2 gummies should be taken 30 minutes before bedtime — but keep in mind that taking 2 gummies will increase the melatonin dose to 1 mg.

These gummies also contain chamomile extract, lemon balm extract, passionflower extract, and L-theanine, an amino acid that may help improve sleep quality.

One study found that, when combined with vitamin B6, L-theanine was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety in children with Tourette syndrome (14).

Research in adults suggests that L-theanine may help improve sleep quality and duration. However, this effect has not been confirmed in children (15).

OLLY products are third-party tested and produced in NSF-certified facilities.

Best allergen-friendly

Nature’s Night Kids Plant-Based Melatonin

  • Price range: $
  • Dose: 1 mg
  • Type: tablet
  • Recommended age: 3 years and older

Nature’s Night Kids tablets are vegan-friendly and free from major allergens, including gluten.

These grape-flavored tablets are sweetened with monk fruit extract and mannitol, which can cause stomach upset when taken in large amounts (13).

Nature’s Night Kids tablets are produced in a CGMP-certified facility, and certificates of analysis (COAs) from in-house testing are available on the website. However, the products aren’t tested by a third-party organization.

Best liquid

Vicks PURE Zzzs Kidz Melatonin Liquid

  • Price range: $$$
  • Dose: 1 mg
  • Type: liquid
  • Recommended age: 4 years and older

Vicky’s PURE Zzzs Kidz is a gluten-, lactose-, and gelatin-free liquid melatonin formulated for kids ages 4 and older.

The berry-flavored liquid is highly rated online, with parents noting that it’s easy for their children to take and works quickly.

However, this product is sweetened with saccharin and sucralose, artificial sweeteners that some parents may prefer to avoid.

The 1-mg dose can be taken 30 minutes before bedtime.

Best gluten-free

Nature Made Kids First Sleep Gummies

  • Price range: $$
  • Dose: 1 mg
  • Type: gummy
  • Recommended age: 4 years and older

Nature Made Kids First Sleep Gummies are certified gluten-free, making them a good option if your child has celiac disease or another gluten-related disorder.

These strawberry-flavored gummies are naturally sweetened with tapioca syrup and cane sugar. They contain 1 mg of melatonin and are meant to be taken 30–60 minutes before bedtime.

While this particular product is not USP-verified, many Nature Made products are, and the company carries a good reputation for providing safe, high quality products.

Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:

When shopping for kid-friendly melatonin supplements, be sure to consider the following factors:

  • Dose: It’s generally recommended to start with a dose of 0.5–1 mg. However, it’s important to discuss the appropriate dose for your child with a pediatrician. Especially for younger kids, it’s a good idea to choose a product that provides a lower dose per serving.
  • Cost: When considering cost, be sure to look at the price per serving.
  • Quality: Choose a product that is produced by a reputable company and has been tested, ideally by a third-party lab such as NSF, USP, or ConsumerLab. This will ensure that the product contains what the label claims it does.
  • Type of product: Melatonin supplements are available in several forms, including gummies, liquids, powders, and chewable tablets. Be sure to choose a product that’s appropriate for your child.

Melatonin shouldn’t be the first line of defense against poor sleep. Below are a few suggestions to help your child get a better night’s sleep.

Build healthy sleep habits

The AAP recommends focusing on developing good sleep habits before trying a melatonin supplement (8).

Having a consistent bedtime routine that begins at the same time each night can help your child unwind and get ready to sleep.

Limit screen time close to bedtime

Your child’s body naturally produces melatonin that can help them fall asleep.

However, screens, such as TVs and video games, give off blue light waves that suppress melatonin production and can interfere with sleep (16).

Meditation and mindfulness

Meditation may also be useful. One study in more than 11,000 children under age 18 found that parents noticed improved sleep when their children used Calm, a meditation app (17).

Meditation has also been shown to be effective for improving sleep quality in adults (18).

Include melatonin-rich foods

Research suggests that regularly consuming melatonin-containing foods may help boost melatonin levels in the body, which, in turn, could help improve sleep (3).

Here are some melatonin-rich foods you may be able to include in your child’s diet (3):

  • eggs
  • fish
  • milk
  • oats
  • grapes
  • cherries
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • bell peppers

If your child is regularly struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, it’s worth making an appointment with a pediatrician to rule out a sleep disorder or neurological condition (19).

Always consult a pediatrician before giving your child a new supplement.

Can kids take melatonin every night?

Melatonin is recommended for only short-term use. It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician if you find that your child needs melatonin to sleep every night (8).

What dose of melatonin is safe for kids?

The AAP recommends discussing appropriate doses with your pediatrician before trying melatonin.

However, children generally respond to doses of 0.5–1 mg, 30–90 minutes before bedtime. Some may need a higher dose, but, according to the AAP, most kids should not need doses higher than 3–6 mg (8).

Also keep in mind that melatonin supplements haven’t been found to be safe or effective for kids under age 1. Never give an infant melatonin unless under the direct supervision of a pediatrician or pediatric registered dietitian.

What’s the best form of melatonin for kids to take?

Melatonin supplements are available in a variety of forms, including capsules, chewable tablets, gummies, and liquids. The best form is the one that your child tolerates and can safely swallow.

That being said, it’s important to follow the instructions and dosing listed on the label, as these can vary among products.

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. While the human body naturally produces melatonin, some kids with disrupted sleep may benefit from short-term use of melatonin supplements.

Before giving your child a melatonin supplement, consider non-supplement methods such as building a consistent bedtime routine, limiting screen time, practicing meditation, and adding more melatonin-rich foods to their diet.

Be sure to meet with your child’s pediatrician to discuss the appropriateness and suitable dosing of melatonin before giving it to your child.