Guidelines And Best Practices For Using Natural Sleep Aids For Kids
  /   Dr. John Snow

Guidelines And Best Practices For Using Natural Sleep Aids For Kids

Lack of sufficient sleep in children often leads to tantrums and meltdowns, a familiar scenario for parents with restless sleepers. The mood and behavior of a tired kid can impact the whole household.

Sleep problems are surprisingly common in children, affecting up to 30% of kids. Instead of relying solely on prescription or over-the-counter medications, there are effective natural methods to promote restful sleep in children. 

Let’s dive into the best practices for using natural sleep aids for kids, what to avoid, and how to encourage a good sleeper from a young age.  

Avoiding Sleep Medication For Kids

While some caregivers consider sleep medication for kids, medication is not typically recommended as the first line of treatment for children. Just like any pharmaceutical, there are potential risks and side effects that come with taking sleep medication, which can include: 

  • Daytime sleepiness 
  • Altered sleep patterns 
  • Headaches 
  • Agitation 
  • Dizziness 

As with all medications, there is a risk of overdose or the possibility that a medication could worsen an already present health condition. Ultimately, sleep medication for kids is usually only recommended for short-term use in cases where other behavioral interventions have not worked. It’s vital to be cautious when considering medications for kids' sleep and only under the guidance of a pediatrician or healthcare provider. 

If you’re unsure how to get kids to sleep or are facing nightly bedtime battles, it’s natural to consider your options. But by looking at natural sleep aids and behavioral interventions, you can begin to develop healthy habits that can support your child’s well-being from a young age. 

Natural Supplements To Support Kids Sleep

Natural supplements for kids' sleep often include vitamins and minerals that promote relaxation and calm the nervous system. Have you ever had a cup of chamomile tea to relax before bed or magnesium supplements to support muscle relaxation? Supplements like magnesium, chamomile, and L-theanine are often associated with encouraging a good night’s sleep and are all included in Hiya’s Bedtime Essentials vitamin. 

Supplements that can support a healthy bedtime wind-down routine include: 

  • Vitamin B6 - important for naturally producing melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, helping children establish a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
  • Calcium - plays a role in natural melatonin production, promoting relaxation and contributing to a more restful sleep for children.
  • Magnesium - may support relaxation by helping to calm the nervous system and relax muscles.  
  • L-theanine - an amino acid found in green tea, L-theanine may promote relaxation, assisting children in achieving a calm state conducive to better sleep.
  • Choline - supports the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in sleep regulation, contributing to improved sleep patterns in children.
  • GABA - GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, may have a calming effect on the brain, promoting relaxation to help achieve a more tranquil state before bedtime.
  • Chamomile flower extract - Chamomile's calming properties may help soothe children and contribute to a relaxed bedtime environment, facilitating better sleep.

Keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate supplements, so it’s incredibly important to choose reputable supplement brands that undergo third-party testing, such as Hiya. Like any change to your kid's diet, it’s important to consult your doctor before introducing any new supplements. 

In your search for improving the quality of your kid's sleep, you may also come across melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a sleep hormone your body produces naturally to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. In its supplement form, it’s thought that melatonin adds to your body’s natural supply. 

While melatonin is classed as a dietary supplement, it’s important to be aware that there are a lot of questions and mixed reviews surrounding melatonin for kids. Some healthcare professionals and those in the scientific community do have concerns.  

There have been several reports of overdoses of melatonin in children, and experts report that the actual amount of melatonin can vary massively between products. A health advisory from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) stated: “Melatonin is not under FDA oversight like other over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications. Melatonin content in supplements can vary widely.” In some cases, chemicals that do need a prescription were found in melatonin products

Benefits of Using Natural Sleep Aids for Kids

When talking about how natural sleep remedies differ from pharmaceutical sleep medications, the aim is to focus on creating a body and mind conducive to a good night’s sleep. How can we best support the body’s natural sleep cycle and promote relaxation to encourage restful sleep?

There can be many benefits of using natural nighttime products for children, including: 

  • Less side effects - natural bedtime products typically have fewer side effects than pharmaceutical ones.  
  • Non-habit forming - most natural bedtime supplements are non-addictive, making them a safer and more sustainable long-term option and reducing the risk of dependency over time. 
  • Holistic approach - supplements can work with the body’s natural rhythms rather than against it. 
  • Complimentary - these types of bedtime products can be used alongside sleep hygiene best practices and behavioral interventions. 
  • Accessible - natural supplements are often more readily available and more cost-effective than pharmaceuticals. 
  • Nutritional support - natural bedtime products contain vitamins and nutrients supporting children’s overall health and well-being. 

Natural nighttime products for children can provide several benefits as they focus on a more gentle and natural approach to kids’ sleep. Factors like stress, anxiety, and certain health conditions can impact a child's sleep. It's crucial to discuss any sleep-related concerns with a healthcare provider to effectively support your child's journey toward improved sleep. 

Guidelines for Kids Natural Nighttime Remedies

When selecting natural sleep aids for children, prioritizing safety is essential. Guidelines emphasize choosing age-appropriate remedies and being well-informed, enabling you to make the best choices for your family. Here are a few crucial guidelines to consider:

  1. Speak to a healthcare professional - the number one piece of advice when considering any children's products, natural or not, is to always speak to your pediatrician or doctor. 
  2. Age-appropriateness - check that the dosage and ingredients suit your child’s age group and weight. 
  3. Be aware of allergies - look out for allergic reactions or sensitivities, especially when using herbal remedies. 
  4. Read labels thoroughly - always double-check the label for ingredients, warnings, and instructions. 
  5. Start slow - begin with the lowest recommended dosage. 
  6. Keep a sleep diary - jot down some notes on how bedtime and overall sleep are going and monitor effectiveness. 
  7. Avoid mixing - don’t mix supplements and medication without speaking with your doctor. 
  8. Store safely - keep nighttime products away from small hands in a place children can’t reach. 
  9. Educate the family - talk to your family about the products you’re choosing and help your family understand their importance.

Finally, revisit the initial step: consult with your pediatrician regularly to discuss the effectiveness of the treatment and address any concerns, no matter how minor they may seem.

Best Practices

Each child's needs vary, making it essential to customize sleep strategies to the individual. When considering natural sleep aids for children, use these best practices as a starting point to guide your approach. 

  • Be patient - it can take some trial and error to see what works, so be patient and avoid using multiple options at the same time to test effectiveness. 
  • Stick to a routine - add natural products to your child’s existing bedtime routine to maintain consistency. 
  • Always choose quality - opt for high-quality and reputable brands that have complete transparency over quality, safety, and third-party testing. 
  • Talk to your child - get your child involved and make any changes you make to their bedtime routine fun and inclusive. 

Incorporating natural bedtime products can be a vital component of a child's nighttime routine. Selecting natural supplements that support relaxation and healthy sleep patterns can greatly enhance sleep quality. Alongside this, implementing good sleep hygiene practices is crucial in creating an environment conducive to restful sleep. 

If you’re not sure how many hours of sleep to aim for each night, read our deep dive on how much sleep kids need by age.  

Healthy Habits To Improve Your Child’s Sleep 

Getting lots of quality sleep is not only crucial for reducing meltdowns, but it’s also essential for a child’s health and development. 

Problems with sleep can occur at any stage throughout childhood. Sleep experts often recommend behavioral changes and adjustments to sleep as the first treatment for sleep problems in children. These are strategies that you can use in children of all ages. 

If you’re on a journey to find out how to help kids fall asleep, teaching children about healthy sleep habits sets a strong foundation. Here are some healthy habits you can start adding to your child’s day to rack up those zzz’s:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule (even on weekends)
  • Dim the lights close to bedtime
  • Avoid sugar before bed
  • Encourage daily physical activity 
  • Have a warm bath before bed 
  • Read a story together
  • Monitor your child’s diet and avoid big meals right before bed 

Consistency and patience are key when facing sleep challenges. Healthy habits take time to adopt but are essential for developing good sleep hygiene in children. 

Ensuring Your Child's Best Night's Sleep 

Sometimes, getting your little one to sleep can feel like an uphill battle. Medication, sleep disorders, health problems, and pain can all cause sleep issues. If your child is having difficulty sleeping, speaking to your healthcare provider can help to identify any underlying causes or health issues that could be contributing to sleep problems. 

Sleep remedies for toddlers and children often start with looking at habits and behaviors that affect sleep. Establishing a calming and relaxing bedtime routine is often at the heart of sleep strategies for kids. The sleep environment, natural supplements such as Hiya’s Bedtime Essentials chewable tablets, daytime physical activity, and diet also can contribute to a restful evening routine. 

Stick to soothing natural nighttime remedies and tailor your strategy to your child’s preferences and temperament. Adapting your child's bedtime routine as they grow is essential, and for toddlers, introducing some creative elements can make bedtime more enjoyable and help to avoid nightly battles. By taking a holistic approach to bedtime, you can work to prepare the body and mind for sleep, helping your child get the best night’s rest possible.


Sleep disorders in children | NIH 

Health Advisory: Melatonin Use in Children and Adolescents | American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

The Role of Magnesium in Sleep Health: a Systematic Review of Available Literature | NCBI

The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial | NCBI

Prescribing in the dark: off-label drug treatments for children with insomnia | ACAMH 

Melatonin use soars among children, with unknown risks | University of Colorado Boulder 

Medications for sleep disturbance in children and adolescents | Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 

Sleep Disorders: Parent’s Medication Guide | American Psychiatric Association 

Sleep Medications | Medical Home Portal