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Can we talk about Melatonin please.

(40 Posts)
MarioandLuigi Thu 27-Jan-11 14:19:29

DS has never been a good sleeper - he is 4 next month and I am so bloody tired.

He has been waking up 2-3 times a night for the last two years. It has never been a big problem as he just wanted me to go in and lay with him, sing some songs and give him big squeezes.

Then after we had some success with a weighted vest I decided to buy a weighted blanket. I thought I had struck gold because he didnt need me to go in anymore, he would still wake up but was quite happy by himself.

Thats lasted 3 months. Now he is getting up everynight three or 4 times (this has lasted 2 weeks so far). He wants to get up and play/watch DVD's etc. If I try and put him back to bed he just screams for about 20-30 minutes. He doesnt want me in his bed with him anymore - he pushes me away and says no. He also takes off his nappy and west the bed.

Our Paed recommended Melatonin before but I dismissed the idea because it want really a problem, but if this carries on it is going to be a problem.

I dont know much about melatonin, and I dont want him to feel dopey, especially as lack of sleep isnt getting to him - he has as much energy as ever. Its me that its getting to.

Sorry, I sound so selfish .

IndigoBell Thu 27-Jan-11 14:23:24

There have been loads of prev threads on it. Seems like most people have had really positive experiences of it.

sugared Thu 27-Jan-11 14:38:02

My DD has taken Melatonin for a fews years now, It has been our saviour even the teachers at school remarked that she is calmer,alert and concentrating more.

Melatonin is a chemical that the body naturally produces to induce sleep i believe, it comes in tablet or liquid form once taken sleeping child around 20mins later, She doesn't take it every night but will ask for it if she cannot settle. My dd has never reported any groggyness.

I think from what i am told that you can buy melatonin from your local Holland & Barret?!

baileyandtinks Thu 27-Jan-11 16:41:28

hi my sons gp (my son has ASD) and hardly sleeps wakes 3/4 times a night and takes 2 to 4 hrs to get to sleep was driving me nuts but the gp insisted where we live they are advised against the drug what she did say though was unofficially to try piriton check it is the one that does make you drowsy of course as this is not addictive and can be taken over long periods but id ask your own gp first prob better than resorting to melatonin as that has a lot of side effects and can make obsessional and other types od behaviour worse good luck

Lougle Thu 27-Jan-11 17:47:32

"as that has a lot of side effects and can make obsessional and other types od behaviour worse"

I am sorry, but I really have to challenge that.

Who told you that, Baileyandtinks???

Melatonin is a natural hormone we all produce in our Pirineal gland in the brain. It occurs in response to the darkening of outside light. As the night draws in, we produce melatonin, which makes us drowsy.

However, there is evidence to show that some children with SN do not produce sufficient amounts of melatonin, so do not get the right signal that it is time to sleep.

Melatonin is manufactured synthetically by drugs companies, and is available in liquid form, immediate release tablet and slow-release/modified release capsules.

The half-life of melatonin (that is the time it takes for half of the dose given to be out of circulation) is only around 45 minutes. So it would be very hard for it to have a lasting side-effect, simply because it is GONE.

Having said that, there have been one or two posters who found that their children did not have a peaceful sleep with melatonin, and had vivid dreams.

For my DD, melatonin is amazing. She doesn't have a natural 'off-switch', it seems, yet within around 5-10 minutes of taking melatonin, she is ready to sleep.

Phlebas Thu 27-Jan-11 18:06:48

ummmm melatonin is prescribed on a named patient basis by consultants only (though GPs have just been allowed to prescribe in for the treatment of insomnia in >55yo) - I don't think a GP is the most knowledgeable person to discuss the subject. I'd certainly have far greater concerns about using piriton as a sedative than melatonin (which does not have a sedative effect), Lougle has described really well how it works.

There are lots of threads about melatonin .... we've been using it for 4 days & ds is sleeping for 12 hours straight on the minimum dose (1ml) and wakes up bouncing & chatting the next morning, rather than grumpy & tearful. He's simultaneously had a language & attention explosion (when I picked him up from nursery & asked what he had done he said 'I fed the fish and I play in the garden with the parachute and played with Laura' - that's unheard of) it might be coincidence but I think for a 4yo getting more than 6 broken hours as sleep a night is developmentally a very good thing.

coppertop Thu 27-Jan-11 18:13:37

It made a big difference to ds2.

There's no grogginess involved. It's not a sleeping pill and doesn't work that way.

The only downside is that it doesn't keep ds2 asleep and so he still wakes up. Even so, he's still a lot better with it than without it.

Personally I would run a mile from self-medicating with piriton.

Greenwing Thu 27-Jan-11 20:17:56

Melatonin has changed our son's life and made ours bearable. It doesn't just get him to sleep, it helps him to sleep deeply too. He was referred to a psychiatrist for suspected ADHD/ODD and just taking Melatonin has 'cured' him of virtually all his problems. He has been on it for about a year now.

Turns out he has no SN except for a problem with sleep. He was tired for the first nine miserable years of his life!
Thank heavens for Melatonin.

Taysh1109 Thu 27-Jan-11 20:26:18

I've never known of any side-effects whatsoever to melatonin. A lot of the young people I look after at work are prescribed it and it works wonders. It aids natural sleep and they wake up feeling refreshed in the morning instead of groggy. It's not a sedative, it's a natural remedy... Lougle was spot on with how it works.

The ONLY problem I've ever known of it is that some of the kids were just SO hyper that it didn't even touch them lol!

And Greenwing - that's absolutely wonderful, but your poor DS... tired for 9 years, that's so sad! Bet he's making up for it now though

ilovesprouts Thu 27-Jan-11 21:43:04

my s2 has just been put on it

5inthebed Thu 27-Jan-11 21:48:33

Ds2 takes melatonin in tablet form as he doesn't have a problem going to sleep but more staying asleep. He has never had any side effects.

A Paed should prescribe it though as Gps are not licensed to do so.

gilly3 Thu 27-Jan-11 21:53:15

lougle said it all really,my son has been taking melatonin at night for 3 years now,sometimes it works well then we seem to go thruogh a not so well period,could be lots of different reasons for that,but we have found if we give him a melatonin holiday(2 weeks usually)it then works like it did in the begining,its not easy ,as without it ,he literally bounces of the walls,but if you and him are sleep deprived ,then maybe its worth a go.xx oh and he is much better on a low dose,high dose seems to make him a bit fearfull.xx

ilovesprouts Thu 27-Jan-11 21:53:28

i put mine in ds2 yogart

MarioandLuigi Thu 27-Jan-11 22:40:27

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with me. I was beginning to feel like such a bad parent because I just want him to sleep. Especially as he starts Primary school in September.

We dont have any problem getting DS to sleep, its just staying asleep that is the problem. He is such a light sleeper that even me going to the toilet will wake him, and sometimes it can be nothing at all. Do you think it will keep him asleep all night?

We have a Paed appointment at the end of Feb so I will talk to her about it then.

crazypanda Thu 27-Jan-11 22:51:53

my son has taken melatonin for past couple of years and has had no problems,and i am careful with medicines but the doctor told me that you must not contemplate giving piriton for lack of sleep!.

Lougle Thu 27-Jan-11 23:23:21

M&L, you won't find that melatonin liquid will keep him asleep - it's half-life is so short that once he is asleep it will wear off.

If you need it to keep him asleep, you may need the slow-release. Trouble is, they are capsules, and part of their mechanism is that the casing takes time to dissolve, so they are less effective if you break open the capsule to sprinkle them on something (although lots of people do.)

crazypanda Thu 27-Jan-11 23:36:05

yes,we have to break them open,because he won't swallow them,but they work well for us,he would not take liquid because of the taste.

5inthebed Fri 28-Jan-11 11:30:16

DS2 takes a tablet form (circaden) and took us a while to get him to swallow it whole. He can swallow them without liquid now and doesn't mind taking them. He knows what they are for and will even ask for them early if he is feeling more tired than usual.

LyonMum Mon 17-Oct-11 15:13:52

MY DS2 is 12. We had over 10 years of broken sleep, of him being scared at night, not falling asleep, not staying asleep, needing to sleep next to someone, we tried heavier blankets, moving room etc etc. Last year or so the paed tried melatonin. BINGO. Why do the paeds keep this a secret for so long. I was at my wits end. My marriage nearly ended. Then DS2 began sleeping. However, the immediate release melatonin was replaced with a slow release Circardin. I was sceptical because there isnt much research into giving this to minors. However, I must say that the slow release keeps him asleep whereas the instant release puts him to sleep but he seems to wake up after the half life has gone and he seems to have vivid dreams and disturbances such that he physically gets up to find me but cant necessarily remember it. Im opting for the Circardin but Im going to question the paed about this more before I agree to a definite swap...... But the crux of this message is it works, its not addictive so no side effects if you decide to sleep with them without medicating ...

lechildrenofthecornsilk Mon 17-Oct-11 16:12:52

My ds takes melatonin. Has made a massive difference to his sleep patterns (and our lives!) with no side effects seen yet.

halcyondays Mon 17-Oct-11 16:32:38

Mine have never been great sleepers, not so bad for waking during the night now but they seem worse than ever when it comes to settling down to go to sleep. What is a "normal" length of time for it to take for them to get to sleep? Dd1 is so grumpy in the morning when she has to get up, I don't think she's getting enough sleep, as it often takes her so long to settle.

LaDolcheRyvita Tue 18-Oct-11 11:39:51

My son was ten when given Melatonin. Up to that point I couldn't believe we were up 5 or 6 times at night with him. His night being 10pm to 6am. It was draining us and him.

The circadin tabs are long acting, slow release melatonin so, they have managed to help keep ds asleep. It doesn't make him hungover the next day. I only give half a tab..... As the full dose just made him "pass out". I crush it. And mix with fromage frais.

linejo Fri 17-Apr-15 10:37:09

my son was prescribed Circadin via a private pead which cost £22 for 2 weeks prescription. She sent letter to my doctor asking to prescribe who declined saying it wasn't available via him. I have ordered from BIOVEA but am finding it not as good as the Circadin. Does anyone have any advise as what or where I can go to get it?

Schrodingersmum Fri 17-Apr-15 12:41:43

Hi linejo you cannot purchase melatonin in this country but can import from elsewhere I bought on ebay till it was prescribed by dd's paediatrician

Suggest you make an appt with your 'helpful' GP and suggest that if they are unprepared to prescribe from the private paed they then pay for you to see an nhs paed which will have a cost implication for your practice. It might encourage them to be more helpful

Firsttimer7259 Tue 21-Apr-15 14:36:48

Lots of good stuff above - melatonin wont make him dopey next day

And its not selfish - poor sleep is awful - its alos awful for him. My DD on melatonin for about 1.5 years now its the best thing we've done for her and for us. hands down best thing. partic the ciracadin which keeps her from night waking.

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