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Adult and Children’s Sleep Supplements: What is Melatonin?

Are you dreaming of a good night’s sleep for everyone in your family? Do you want to know more about melatonin? You’re not alone. According to the CDC, a recent study showed 34.9% of kids aren’t getting enough sleep at night1—which affects everyone—and parents are looking for solutions. 

Among the sleep supplements on the market, there’s a lot of buzz (and some mystery) around melatonin. We’re here to help with some facts straight from the experts.

What exactly is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in sleep. *It’s naturally made by the brain in the pineal gland (a pea sized gland above the middle of the brain). Melatonin is widely available as a dietary supplement in the U.S. and people commonly use it for sleep disruptors like jet lag. *Studies show it may help with occasional sleeplessness in adults and children.2*

How does it work?

Melatonin lets the body know when it’s time to sleep and to wake up. The production and release of melatonin works with the timing of your circadian rhythm (24-hour internal biological clock) that synchronizes with environmental cues. Melatonin production naturally increases when it’s dark and decreases when it’s light. In fact, being exposed to light at night can block internal melatonin production. We produce melatonin from birth, but our levels start to decline as we age.*

Why so much buzz around restful sleep?

Prioritizing quality sleep, especially in children, is a hot topic that continues to gain momentum. Adequate, better-quality sleep can be a measure of higher overall quality of life3. For kids, sleep is an essential part of their lives—it’s crucial for brain development, health, behavior and how they learn. A good night’s sleep can help kids concentrate, perform well in school and have a more even temperament.

Is everyone in your hive/family getting the optimal amount of sleep?

Check out this chart:



3 to 5 years

10 to 13 hours including naps 

6 to 12 years

9 to 12 hours

13 to 18 years

8 to 10 hours

18 to 65+

7 to 8 hours

How do you take melatonin?

It comes in different forms for children and adults including liquid, chewable tablets, and gummies in various flavors. Like other supplements, melatonin is regulated by the FDA. Keep in mind that melatonin works best when taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Here are our dosing recommendations:



Children ages 3 through 5

1mg melatonin

Children ages 6 through 11

2mg melatonin

Ages 12+

3mg melatonin

When to consider melatonin

That’s a personal choice for everyone. We suggest starting with these tips for a consistent Open link in new windowsleep routine before taking any supplements. If that does not resolve the issue, talk to your doctor about melatonin for occasional sleeplessness and take as directed. *If melatonin is right for you, see our Children’s and Adults’ Sleep products.


1. CDC report Wheaton AG, Claussen AH. Open link in new windowShort sleep duration among infants, children, and adolescents aged 4 months–17 years — United States, 2016–2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70:1315-1321. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7038a1

2. Pediatric Annals Vol 50, 2021 

3. Pediatric Annals Vol 50, 20214 Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, D’Ambrosio C, Hall WA, Kotagal S, Lloyd RM, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: a consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med. 2016;12(6):785–786.

Topics in this Article

  • Sleep

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.