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Should we use melatonin?(31 Posts)
My DD (3.5) - waiting v.likely Asperger diagnosis - is really struggling to settle at night. She used to have a dummy but gave it up a couple of months ago and since then it takes 2 hours (and more) for her to get to sleep.
When I saw her paediatrician it came up in conversation and she offered us melatonin to help.
What would you do? Should I give it a bit longer to see if she can learn to settle herself without the dummy? Would melatonin 'reset' her sleeping pattern? Or would we end up relying on the melatonin??
Does anyone have any experience or thoughts?
Ds has had melatonin since he was under 3, he used to take most of the evening to go to sleep, usually crashing at around 11, then waking in the night with reflux and up at 4.30 for the day.
Melatonin helps him sleep from about 7.30, he still wakes in the night and gets up early but the sleep he does get is so much better. I think it has helped his development, as he has a lot more stamina during the day - he doesn't 'zone out' half as much as he used to.
Dd3 is 12 and has struggled with getting to sleep on and off for yrs, she can take up to 2 hrs to get to sleep without melatonin!
She has very recently been prescribed it after a short trial and its making a huge difference. She is settling within 40 minutes of taking it and is much more settled through the night!
We were worried she would be drowsy during the day but not at all, she has more energy because she is sleeping better.
You could trial it for a week like we did and see what happens, you will know very quickly if its going to work although you may have to play around with the doseage.
Thanks both. I just hate the thought of 'drugging' her and yet I hate the impact that lack of sleep is having on her too. She is highly strung at the best of times, so with tiredness mixed in it is pretty hard work for all of us!
If a lack of melatonin being produced is the problem then it is likely the same sleep problems would occur when melatonin is stopped as they still won't be naturally producing enough.
It can work just to reset the sleep cycle though too, especially in those who are probably producing enough of their own melatonin iyswim. Ds is like this and can take it for 3 months every now and again to reset his sleep cycle. He more likely has a disrupted sleep cycle due to a seizure disorder.
We have used it on DD since she was three. She's now 5.5 years. She had food allergies that affected her gut, which affected sleep. It took her two hours to get to sleep every night.
She has very recently grown out of allergies. But still needs the melatonin. I tried it two nights ago and she just couldn't sleep.
Agree with above re helping with ability to cope in daytime. She sleeps at 6.30-7.00pm and wakes 7am on Melatonin. Without it she sleeps at 9pm and is exhausted next day.
The paed we saw for ds has recommended melatonin, ds gets anxious and angry and can't settle, average bedtime is 11-11.30 at the moment.
He's really angry today so we've taken the crap parent route and allowed him to play on his xbox and we're ignoring him, hoping he'll drop off because there's no pressure.
I'll be ringing the gp on Monday to
beg ask for melatonin.
It depends on what time your childs actually getting to sleep! our child is usually 1am and thats with meds sometimes, what time is your child actually getting to sleep?
Thanks for everyone's advice. Our DD gets off to sleep around 8-9 pm. She goes to bed at 6.30pm. We have to wake her most mornings and she is really tired in the day.
I keep hoping that the daytime tiredness will get the better of her and she'll go to sleep at 6.30/7pm through exhaustion and so 'reset' herself. But it just doesn't seem to happen. Bedtime comes and something seems to switch in her and she becomes hugely energetic.
Starting to come round to the melatonin option.
Hi My little boy has ASD and he was prescribed Melatonin about a year ago, it was the best decision I've ever made, I used to put him to bed about 7-7.30pm and he wouldnt fall asleep until about 11, and he would only sleep while I sat next to him, so I never had any time to myself because as soon as he fell asleep I'd go straight to bed, but now he falls asleep within 20-30 minutes! It's wonderful, his mood has greatly improved throughout the day as he's not so tired, he's getting a full nights sleep, also he used to suffer with severe night terrors which would cause him to scream for up to 2 hours, the Melatonin has helped with those also, he barely has them anymore and when he does theyre no where near as bad! It will completely help you and your LO, its not 'drugging' them because all Melatonin is is the hormone they're lacking that we all have that helps us to settle into natural sleep, all you're doing is giving them that part of them they're missing I hope this helps x
Talnunn, thank you. I like the way you have explained it, I hadn't thought of it in that way at all. Food for thought
Give it a try. If it helps great, if it doesn't you stop it.
Know it helps many kids - my child with ASD/ADHD it didn't do a thing! - tried at varying doses, but just didn't help.
Like all meds, so much is luck as everyone responds differently, but you really have nothing to lose by trying it, and potentially a lot to gain.
DT2 has been on melatonin for a few months. He's on a very low dose but it works for him as it gets him off to sleep within 30 minutes. Previously he would be awake and stimming for 1.5 - 2 hours. He still wakes at night and will stay awake for up to 2 hours but it's often only once instead of two or three times a night. Every now and again he will sleep right through! Never happened before.
JazzerciseThis that's a really helpful answer, thanks.
Does melatonin help your DS sleep through the night?
We are pretty desperate for something that will keep him asleep. He can't take circadian as he can't swallow tablets and the dose is too big for him (I don't think it's prescribed for children anyway though).
Thank you to you all. I rang the paediatrician and have asked for a prescription. Unfortunately it takes longer to organise than I anticipated so we won't have it for when we go on holiday at the end of the week. But at least we'll have it for when we are back. Thank you to you all for helping.
deadwitchproject my DS is 4 and takes Circadian, he can't swallow tablets either we were given a tablet crusher from the paediatrician (you should be able to pick one up from a chemist) and we're told to crush the tablets and put them into a drink, this failed for us because my little one wouldn't finish the drink so instead now what I do is crush the tablets put them into 5ml of juice and use a medicine syringe to give it to him quick and easy, and no panicking when he won't finish his drink. Just a couple of suggestions for you in case you do decide to go onto Circadian, it really helps my DS sleep through the night and he used to be an awful sleeper!
Thank you both, great information.
JazzerciseThis my DT2 is chronically sleep deprived too. My own sleep deprivation feels as though I've drunk a bottle of red...no such fun here. I read that adult sleep cycle patterns kick in around age 4/5. I wonder if that's true with your DS?
talnunn I hadn't realised circadian can be prescribed to children. Their website says age 55. How amazing that it still works as slow release when crushed. Do you give him 2mg?
Their website also states that they're doing phase III trials for a paediatric version. I hope it's successful as next step is marketing.
We were also told to crush the tablets, to make them faster acting. I'm a little worried cos the leaflet says its not for children under 18, but the hospital paed wrote to the gp to tell him to prescribe it, so I'm assuming its safe.
Only on night 2 and so far it seems to be working.
Thanks JazzerciseThis. I think you've just outlined the future with DT2, I can imagine it will take a few years before it falls into place. I'm glad you're there now, it gives me hope that there may be an end in sight.
kojackscat it's so strange that crushing them still makes them effective. I guess it must be ok to prescribe to children - how old is your DC? I'd love to hear your update, good luck to you.
MooMummyMoo hope you have a good holiday.
Crushing them makes them act faster. Ds is 6. He has no trouble staying asleep, just getting to sleep in the first place. So I guess he doesn't need the slow release effects. At the moment he is falling asleep within 15-30 mins, so much better than 2-3 hours. And his behaviour at bed time is so different. Instead of 3 hours of raging, shouting, throwing, insults etc, he just lies down and sleeps.
I'm not used to it yet, but we seem to have our evenings back. Previously one of us had to stay outside his door till he slept, even if he was calm, he gets so anxious if he is left alone. Now, I dont mind staying outside for such a short time. And he is so calm I might try going downstairs tonight and see how it goes.
I'm trying not to think about the future, I dont want him to need this for ever, but its v early days, so we will see.
Oh, and we just crush it between two spoons and give it to him sprinkled on to a petit filou.
Another one here about to start trying Melatonin for DS. I am a lot less concerned about trying it (and so is DH) now that I've read this thread - thanks all.
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