Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Melatonin: Miracle or Madness?

Michal Eisikowitz

Is melatonin safe for regular use? How about for episodic use, like jet lag or long flights? The facts are still coming together, and the stuff that has streamlined bedtime for parents around the world may cause you to lose some sleep.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nine-year-old Shauli was having trouble concentrating in school, and his principal was pushing for Ritalin. “I can’t fall asleep, and then I don’t feel relaxed in school,” a distressed Shauli explained to his mother, Rivky. “The next night, I start worrying about having another bad day, so that makes it even harder to fall asleep!” The vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and anxiety was exacting a heavy toll on Shauli’s academic and social success. Unwilling to resort to Ritalin straightaway, Rivky and her husband decided to give Shauli melatonin. “It was amazing,” she testifies. “The school staff called me a week later, wanting to know what I’d done. ‘He’s a new kid,’ they said.” Rivky is one of millions of parents worldwide who have found relief in the “darkness hormone.” Naturally produced in the brain upon exposure to darkness, melatonin signals the body to ready for sleep, lowering blood temperature and inducing a drowsy stupor. When children struggle to drift off, parents are increasingly turning to synthetic melatonin supplements believed to offer the necessary boost to dreamland. Numerous studies — most of them short-term, and conducted on children with developmental disabilities like autism or cerebral palsy — have shown melatonin to be effective. But while anecdotal evidence is compelling — parents rave about the results — studies proving the efficacy of the neurohormone in typical children are spotty. What’s more, since widespread melatonin use is relatively new (about 20 years old), the jury is still out on its long-term safety.

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you