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Tell me about melatonin

(15 Posts)
NoHaudinMaWheest Fri 16-Sep-16 10:51:13

DD (16) was diagnosed with ASD about a year ago. She has never found it easy to get to sleep but as she was so much better than ds (also with ASD) I never thought much about it. In the last few years in seems to have got harder for her to get to sleep or maybe she has noticed it more.
The ASD worker she has been seeing at CAMHS suggested trying melatonin as we have already tried all the bedtime routine, relaxing sounds etc stuff and it hasn't helped at all.
The worker has put it in her discharge letter to the GP (though making it sound like our idea rather than hers) and we have an appointment with the GP this afternoon. I have no idea if the GP would be willing to prescribe or not but would be able to discuss it with him as we have a good relationship.
I would like to hear other's experiences with using melatonin and the pros and cons.
Thanks

Sirzy Fri 16-Sep-16 10:54:45

Our GP won't prescribe it, we have to get it via peads - don't know if it varies from area to area tnough.

Ds is much younger - 6.5 - and has never been a good sleeper, it could easily take him up to 4 hours to fall asleep. He has been on melatonin for a few months now and is normally asleep within 1.5 hours of taking it, and is much more relaxed when falling asleep

Niklepic Fri 16-Sep-16 11:01:25

DS is 11 and was prescribed it by his neurologist about 5 years ago. Our GP has increased dosage as he's got older but not sure if he would have prescribed it initially. I know from speaking to other parents that some GPs do.

DS takes steroids which keep him awake but falls asleep generally about half an hour of taking melatonin, despite being completely hyped up when he takes it.

It doesn't keep him asleep but definitely helps him to go off. He hasn't had any side effects and isn't drowsy in the morning.

NoHaudinMaWheest Fri 16-Sep-16 11:31:10

Thanks. Dd usually sleeps well once she is asleep. She just lies there trying to sleep but if she can't get off she is tired in the morning. As she is starting A levels that is not a good thing.

zzzzz Fri 16-Sep-16 11:46:13

It needs a consultant to prescribe. We use it to get back into routine rather than every night. It makes dreams appear more vivid (pushes dream sleep closer to end of sleep cycle). It's mild not a sleeping pill so won't work if you don't stop screens an hour before and simmer down. You can purchase it over the counter in lots of countries outside uk.

BertPuttocks Fri 16-Sep-16 11:57:28

My DS used to take it.

The Paed prescribed it and then later arranged with the GP for us to get it from them on repeat prescription.

The pros:
- DS was able to fall asleep more quickly, which meant he was generally in a better mood the following day.

The cons:
- DS used to have quite vivid dreams/nightmares when he was on it.
- It didn't stop him from waking up several times a night (though there is a slow-release version which might help with that)

The new Paed wasn't keen on him using it long-term though, so the prescription ended after a couple of years.

Fairylea Fri 16-Sep-16 13:24:31

We use it every night for ds aged 4. None of us would get any sleep at all without it. We all worship the stuff.

NoHaudinMaWheest Fri 16-Sep-16 17:56:59

Back from the GP who agreed to prescribe but only on a short term basis. He suggested trying it for a fortnight and then if it was working gradually weaning off.
Would that be long enough to see if it works?

PolterGoose Fri 16-Sep-16 18:05:04

If it works it will work straight away. Small doses are often better than large.

After working brilliantly for a bit it started giving me horrendous nightmares and very broken sleep. I thought I'd found the solution to years of sleep problems sad It works a treat for ds.

It works quickly and has a short half life so timing is important, about 20 minutes before wanting to fall asleep works here.

zzzzz Fri 16-Sep-16 18:14:05

You shouldn't need to wean her of it. We were told it might be habit forming but not anything more than that.

For us it works instantly so 2 weeks would be more than enough. I think for ds (2 not 1!) it has been a boon because ehe is no longer worried about IF he can get to sleep.

PolterGoose Fri 16-Sep-16 18:16:20

Same with ds zzzzz, he knows if he takes it he will fall asleep so is less anxious so now rarely takes it. I leave him in control too which helps (he's very sensible in some ways!).

Melawati Fri 16-Sep-16 19:18:31

My teenage DD has had melatonin for about 18 months. Agree that it really does help reduce anxiety about going to sleep, which has been a major benefit for her. If it's going to work, you'll know straight away, although the Dr had to tinker a bit to get the dose right we could see it was improving things.

NoHaudinMaWheest Fri 16-Sep-16 19:45:40

Good to know that it works straight away. The GP was thinking that like you zzzzz we could use it to get a better pattern set. DD doesn't seem particularly anxious (and she doesn't disturb anyone else) but then she is a master of masking.

zzzzz Fri 16-Sep-16 20:40:11

It all happened quite naturally here. we haven't used it for months but I was expecting to need it during these early weeks at a new school.

It has the same effect as a small glass of sherry has on an adult. Yes you will doze off more easily but only if you are warm and comfortable and ready to....otherwise you are of course quite capable of staying awake through it and coming out the other side.

Melawati Fri 16-Sep-16 20:58:39

Excellent analogy zzzzzsmile the Dr stressed the importance of maintaining good sleep hygiene and a proper routine in conjunction with the melatonin. Like your DD mine had already tried this and it hadn't really helped, and I think the melatonin gave that extra nudge into sleep that she needed.
If she's really wired and upset about something it doesn't work, as she can force herself to stay up through it, so having lots of quiet time and calm activities helps.

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