Lack of Melatonin in Children
Melatonin is a hormone which is produced in the pineal gland situated in the brain. Melatonin plays an important role in sleep mechanism and regulating sleep patterns. Melatonin also has antioxidant properties.
Melatonin is synthesized and secreted during the dark phase of the day. When the nights are long, melatonin is secreted for a longer time. Even a brief exposure to light of sufficient intensity at night, rapidly suppresses melatonin production.
It is also synthesized in the liver and in the retina. The retinal melatonin does not contribute to circulating level of melatonin and it acts only locally as a neuro-modulator.
Melatonin deficiency in children can cause poor quality of sleep in a child. It makes the child more hyperactive, feels sleepy during day and is fatigued all the time. The child has poor concentration while studying.
In a study, when the child had a sound sleep, he was more attentive, performed well in his scholastic activities, his mood was fine. This suggests lack of melatonin deficiency has a role in a child who is having attention deficit hyperactive disorder with poor sleep.
Melatonin Deficiency Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of low melatonin levels are:
- Insomnia prior to getting periods.
- Waking up early in the morning.
- Frequent waking at night.
Melatonin Deficiency Treatment
- Supplementation with melatonin in people who are deficient may help in their insomnia. Melatonin treatment is expected to ameliorate circadian rhythm disturbance, associated with shift work, jet lag, blindness, insomnia and in old age.
- Jet lag can be reduced to half by treatment with melatonin.
- The easiest and most promising method used to set the master clock is to use melatonin at bed time.
- Before taking melatonin, a person should always consult his doctor.