Melatonin may be an effective treatment for children with eczema who often experience trouble sleeping, according to the latest findings. Eczema is a skin condition that leaves the skin itchy and red. Thirty percent of children are estimated to have eczema and more than half of them have difficulty sleeping.
Treating sleeplessness in children can be difficult as medications available can pose harmful side effects or the child can become resistant to them after a few days.
Lack of sleep in eczema is not merely a child’s issue; it can affect those of any age who have the skin condition. Melatonin offers itself as a safe solution to boost sleep in those who feel itchy and restless throughout the night.
Aside from feeling itchy, researchers found that those with eczema have lower levels of nocturnal melatonin, which can contribute to sleep disturbances as well.
Dr. Yung-Sen Chang, attending physician in pediatrics at Taipei City Hospital Renai Branch in Taiwan, said, “Melatonin is a natural human hormone with minimal adverse effects, so it seemed like a good choice for children.”
The study examined 48 children with eczema between the ages of 22 months and 18 years. Children were then given a placebo or a three milligram daily dose of melatonin at bedtime for four weeks. In the melatonin group eczema severity dipped, possibly due to melatonin’s anti-inflammatory effect. Furthermore, those who took melatonin fell asleep 21 minutes earlier on average than the children on placebos.
Overall, sleep also increased by 10 minutes on average in the melatonin group and fell 20 minutes in the placebo group. Additionally, those on melatonin did not report any side effects.
The findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics.