Melatonin As a Sleep Aid for Children and Teens?

For family harmony, happy kids, and equally happy and rested parents the amount and quality of sleep each family member has is the key. Is there help for children or teens who do not sleep well or take too long to fall asleep? Some parents say they give their children or teens melatonin to help them sleep better or fall asleep faster. What is melatonin? What do the experts say about melatonin and recommending it to kids and teens?

What is Melatonin?

It is a hormone that helps regulate sleep and although the maintenance of circadian cycles appears to be its primary function, it also carries out other roles. In this post we will focus mostly on melatonin’s use in sleep problems

A Medical News Today article written by Tim Newman says, “Melatonin carries out a vast array of tasks; it also has the potential to be medically useful in a number of conditions, including radiation exposure, Alzheimer’s disease and tinnitus. 

Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound found in humans, animals, microbes and plants. In animals and humans, its levels vary during the daily cycle. It is intimately involved in regulating the sleeping and waking cycles. It is sometimes prescribed by doctors for patients with sleep problems.

Sleep disorders

A variety of sleep problems have been treated with melatonin with varying success rates. The strongest evidence for its use in sleep problems is for people whose issues with sleep are behavioral, developmental or as a result of a mental disorder.

Insomnia in children and the elderly, jet lag and delayed sleep phase syndrome (a disorder where the circadian rhythms appear to be too long) also seem responsive to melatonin.

Children with autism can have abnormal melatonin pathways and lower than normal melatonin levels. Some studies have shown that it helps improve sleep duration, reduce the time taken to drift off to sleep and reduce the number of night-time awakenings in these children. However, much of the research has been conducted using self-reported levels of improvement; more investigation in this area needs to be done.

Despite the importance of melatonin in natural sleep cycles, taking it as a supplement without an underlying condition does not seem to extend or deepen sleep. Even its evidence for advancing the onset of sleep is scant in healthy individuals.

Products containing melatonin have been available over-the-counter as dietary supplements in the United States since the mid-1990’s.

Uses of Melatonin

It is used for many reasons and the ones most often sited are:

  • Insomnia in older adults
  • Jet lag
  • Sleep improvements
  • Problems falling asleep
  • Problems not sleeping long enough
  • Blindness (amount of melatonin we produce is determined by how dark or light our surroundings are)
  • Sleep problems in children with special needs.

Is Melatonin a Recommended Sleep Aid

for Children and Teens? 

Tired child sleeping at the table - What Is Being Said About Melatonin As a Sleep Aid for Children and TeensI found melatonin supplements have become popular as natural sleep aids. It helps establish normal sleep patterns to promote a more restful, relaxing sleep and better overall health. The body naturally produces melatonin, and Vitamin B6 is essential for its production.  One of its most important attributes, one mom told me, is its ability to lower body temperature to induce sleep and cool down overheated systems such as those in child bipolar disorder.

It is believed that individuals with autism (ASD) might not have enough melatonin naturally or that it might be produced at the wrong time, therefore its use would be helpful. Parents should bring this up with their child’s doctor.

“These supplements will help about 20 to 30 percent of the population fall asleep more easily when given prior to bedtime,” says Dr. Craig Canapari, director of the Pediatric Sleep Center at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut. He adds that an important consideration for parents is whether they have tried everything else first, before giving the supplement. “The most effective interventions for insomnia are often behavioral,” he says. “Improving sleep hygiene, avoiding screen time in the evenings [and] limiting sleep in the afternoon and sleeping in on the weekends may be more effective over time than medication.”

I have spoken to two moms lately, one with a child with ADHD and one whose child has Tourette Syndrome, sensory and anxiety issues, both find that the supplements works well for their children… and naturally for the tired parents. Parents of developmentally delayed children or who have children with autism found that it helped their child sleep better.

Dosage:

On the site, Talk About Sleep, I found that  the average melatonin supplement is 20 – 50 times more than we need! Some say that in children, its doses should not exceed 0.3 mg per day. On Talk About Sleep it even suggested if you are using regular tablets, you can cut the pill into fourths, otherwise, try to find the smallest pill size available. If you are taking time-released tablets, do not break the pill, as this will ruin the time-release. You can buy 8 hour time release melatonin which helps you fall asleep fast and STAY asleep all night.

There is also a sublingual melatonin (a pill that dissolves under the tongue). Sublingual melatonin is released immediately into the blood stream, and isn’t metabolized through the digestive system.

They are even featuring fruity flavors and chewable tablets.

One mom told us that she breaks open the capsule and mixes the powder to disguise it in a nighttime drink. A health professional can best recommend the type of supplement your child should have, when to take it and how.

As you can see there is a lot to be considered before using melatonin to help your special needs child to sleep.  The wrong amounts of it or melatonin at the wrong time of day can cause  health risks.



Word of Hope:

The Medical News Today site explains, “There have been a number of well-designed studies and case reports on the use of melatonin in children with neuro-psychiatric disorders that result in sleep difficulties, such as autism, psychiatric disorders, visual impairment, or epilepsy. The studies conducted so far suggest that melatonin can shorten the time to fall asleep and lengthen sleep duration.”

  • There is a  study on melatonin and children with autism by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Dr. Malow reported,” Melatonin was effective in the first week of treatment, maintained effectiveness over several months, was well-tolerated and safe, and showed improvement in sleep, behavior and parenting stress

Advances in the Research of Melatonin in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Literature Review and New Perspectives

  • In the International Journal of Pediatrics an article entitled, “Clinical Uses of Melatonin in Pediatrics” states, “Melatonin is beneficial not only in the treatment of dyssomnias (the disorders that produce either difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep), especially delayed sleep phase syndrome, but also on sleep disorders present in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity, autism spectrum disorders, and, in general, in all sleep disturbances associated with mental, neurologic, or other medical disorders.”
  • JUNE 16, 2014: In an article by Dr. Sonya Doherty, a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder, AD/HD, Tourette Syndrome and Pediatric OCD, she says sleep disorders affect 83% of children diagnosed with autism. Dr. Doherty goes on to say that sleep problems in autism usually start at the same age as developmental regression, suggesting a higher vulnerability at this period of life. Healthy sleep patterns are essential to support neuroplasticity and development so it is important to address sleep disorders as soon as possible. According to the Center of Pediatric Sleep Disorders, studies of melatonin use in children with ASD provide evidence for its effectiveness and safety in the long run. READ Dr. Sonya Doherty’s article to learn more of the importance of melatonin in the management of sleep disorders and gastrointestinal problems in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Word of Caution and Side Effects:

In an article titled More Parents Are Giving Kids Melatonin to Sleep. Is It Safe? by Dr. Stan Spinner, chief medical officer of Texas Children’s Pediatrics. “To date, research hasn’t determined whether melatonin use could affect the onset of puberty or whether there are any other long-term effects on children’s health, Owens says. (Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.) “Melatonin actually suppresses some hormones that regulate puberty. So, the concern is that chronic use of melatonin could alter normal pubertal development,” she says, adding that, at present, there’s no evidence to support this – at least that’s been published. “It’s more of a theoretical concern at this point, but I think that’s [what] tends to be most worrisome.”

  • As I mentioned at the beginning, Dr. Beth Malow also said, “It is important that individuals with insomnia seek medical advice before taking melatonin. This is because other treatable medical and sleep conditions can sometimes cause insomnia.
  • Dr. Beth Malow continues, “Also, melatonin can interact with other drugs for other medical conditions,” It is believed that Melatonin supplements can interfere with anti-depressant medications, anti-psychotic medications, blood-thinning medications, some cancer drugs, etc.
  • Be aware that some people report side effects like dizziness, confusion, headache, irritability, vivid dreams, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, …
  • There is also the question of the dosage amount that you should discuss with your doctor.

Tips to Help a Child or Teen to Sleep Well

I Can Relax! a Relaxation Cd for Children

I Can Relax! a Relaxation Cd for Children | The Child Anxiety Network

My advice to parents would be to try the following steps first. If their child still has a sleep problem then a consultation with their family doctor is needed to know what else can be done and if melatonin supplements are required for their child.

  • Having a bedtime routine that induces sleep.
  • Setting a consistent wake-up time, and build his sleep schedule around it.
  • Checking that the following are just right: bedroom temperature, amount of darkness, comfort of the bed and bedclothes, having no electronic gadgets on, limiting stimulating activities shortly before bedtime…
  • Making sure there are no annoying noises like a ticking clock, humming furnace, gurgling pipes, dripping water, etc.
  • Making sure there are no “unpleasant to him” or “bad” smells from laundry detergent on the bedclothes or bedding, even what the child would smell from a shampoo, soap, or toothpaste.
  • Being sure their child has a healthy lifestyle taking in consideration food intake and daily physical exercises (preferably outdoor play).
  • Checking with their family doctor to rule out any medical conditions, either physical or mental, that may cause their sleep problems.

65 Comments

  • Roxy Posted January 8, 2013 11:22 pm

    Great article 🙂 I’ve often wondered about melatonin and its use as a sleeping aid as my youngest son (PDD-NOS, 6yrs) as he has always been extremely hyperactive and only sleeps about 5 hours during the night. Because he is doing okay in mainstream schooling and is thriving really well (he’s very tall) I’ve always thought against the use of melatonin as l don’t really want to mess with his development.

    Thank you for answering all the questions l have longed to ask the pharmacist and his GP about the use of melatonin. I’ve never felt very comfortable about asking them for fear of his GP recommending other medications to ‘control’ his hyperactivity. He is a lot calmer and more responsive now as he is on a special diet and lots of physical activity.

    I think we will continue down this path and just have o hope that eventually he will start sleeping for longer periods during the night. I’m hoping that the workload of grade 2 will wear him out mentally 😉

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted January 10, 2013 10:20 am

      Hello Roxy, Very happy to read that you found my post,”What Is Being Said About Melatonin As a Sleep Aid for Children and Teens” was helpful. You seem to have your situation under control. Here’s hoping your child will soon sleep longer periods during the night. Hopefully at his age he will increasingly be involved in active play with his friends and that will help him sleep longer during the nights. Lorna

    • Angelica Posted January 11, 2013 6:05 pm

      I have to kids with ADHD and they take melatonin every night because the Adderal makes it impossible for them to fall asleep. If I don’t give it to them they will be til 1 am and not be able to function in school.

      • Lorna dEntremont Posted January 13, 2013 10:50 am

        Angelica, thanks for your comment. You are lucky you have found what works for helping your children have a restful night so they can cope the following day at school. The best to you and your family in 2013

      • kristi Posted November 16, 2013 12:50 am

        1am? My 2 would be up for days at a time, crash for a few hours, then we go around again. The melatonin in this article pushes people away from using the supp. I give mine melt-away breath strips. They aren’t zombies and do wake for stresses. I highly recommend trying if you are attempting to be a functioning adult.

        • Lorna dEntremont Posted November 16, 2013 9:04 am

          Thanks Kristi for telling us about melt-away strips. Happy to read that these work for your children. I Googgled it and found a product that helps with sleep that must be what you have. The article mentions Naturals Sleep Aid Melatonin Strips that are peppermint-flavored.

        • Mary Posted March 2, 2014 1:38 pm

          The melt aways still have melatonin in them so the potential side affects are still there. So concerned that my grandsons aggressive behavior during the day has increased as a result of giving him melatonin sleep aides.

          • Lorna dEntremont Posted March 3, 2014 8:21 am

            Mary, thanks for your comment on melatonin and your grandson. I suggest you or his parents ask their family doctor is aggressive behavior is one of the side effects of melatonin. Also if you have a helpful pharmacist he/she could be able to help you also.

          • Amanda Posted September 28, 2016 10:47 am

            Can u explain how he is aggressive. My son is 4 and doing this. I also am trying to figure out if it is the melatonin causing this

          • Lorna dEntremont Posted October 8, 2016 9:23 am

            Mary, I have not heard of a child being more aggressive because of taking melatonin… you could ask your family doctor or a pharmacist to see if a side effect of melatonin would make a child feel this way. Lorna

        • michele Posted February 22, 2016 11:29 pm

          My son has always had sleep issues either he would go to bed at 8pm and awake throughout the night and get up by 4am. Last year i started him on melatonin. He took it the first night and i woke him up at 7am. He told me he felt so good to have that nice sleep medicine. He started doing alot better moods and all in school. There are times i let him take a break from it but he really likes to take it he said he feels compleatly rested . He is now 9. He has been taking it since he was 8. He has autistic tendencies. And is in a special school for his learning and behavior. This really has helped him sleep.

          • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 23, 2016 9:00 am

            Thank you so much, Michele, for sharing your story about how melatonin is helping your son have restful sleep. I hope he is having a good school year. The best to you both in 2016. Lorna

  • Julie Posted February 27, 2013 1:23 am

    Great article. Our son with special needs has been taking Melatonin for several years now as he struggles without it. I’ve always been concerned about the safety but every Dr. that I have asked has reassured me that it is totally safe. I know most drugs are taken with the knowledge that the benefits outweigh the risks. Thanks for sharing and give more information on Melatonin. Our son also takes Trazodone for sleep. I can’t imagine like without sleep meds- we would NEVER sleep.

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 27, 2013 7:18 pm

      Thanks Julie, I am happy to read you liked my post on Melatonin. Good that Melatonin has helped your child.

  • Anonymous parent of child with special needs Posted February 28, 2013 12:03 am

    Melatonin may also lower the seizure threshold for children who have seizures (children with autism have a higher risk). Just because it’s “natural”, doesn’t mean that something is safer. Tobacco. We were advised many times by other parents to use large amounts of melatonin for sleep problems with our autistic child. They meant well, but this is bad advice. For many kids with special needs, it’s a good idea to at least see a neurologist and maybe have an EEG done before trying melatonin. Thanks for pointing out the good and the bad, and for looking out for our kids.

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 28, 2013 6:57 am

      Thanks to the parent of a child with special needs for the added information on Melatonin. I completely agree that even if you can buy Melatonin without a prescription, you should consult your doctor to discuss using Melatonin, the dosage you should try, the type, and make sure it does not interfere with other drugs and medications you take.

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  • Anonymous parent (aunt) Posted September 28, 2013 12:11 am

    I’m going on 3yrs of having my nephew full time who is now 7yrs old… I started giving him a very low dose of melatonin, As he is a only 5-6 hour sleeper and we where having a hard time getting him to bed and waking up for school. I ask his doctor and he said ” that is doesn’t hurt and should be fine, some kids don’t need that much sleep?” Well it’s school time again and having those problem’s again. I started giving that low dose of melatonin and he is going to bed early waking up early and refreshed, happy with no fighting etc.. I’m just feel bad having to give him something to sleep at a young age. Great article!! I’m going to try some of you’re (Tips to Help a Child or Teen to Sleep Well)You gave me some incite. Thank you!

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted September 30, 2013 3:57 pm

      Thanks “aunt” for the interesting account of your nephew’s sleep patterns and your solutions. I am glad our post on melatonin was helpful.

  • Angie (Mother) Posted October 5, 2013 3:54 pm

    My 5 year old son has always been a night owl, even as a young child, he would stay up very late at night and then still be up quite early in the mornings. Now that he is in kindergarten this is very difficult to deal with, as he is grumpy in the mornings, and keeps his two younger sisters up at night because of his restlessness. We find him up playing with his toys in his room, looking out his window, reading a book, all things that normal children wouldn’t do after a day of hard work at school, and an abundance of physical activity at home. I have tried everything. Limiting his sugar intake during the day, and a few hours before bed. Giving him a nice warm bath with lavender body wash, as this was supposed to calm him and get him ready for sleep. We also have a nightly routine of bath, quiet time reading (where we read calm books to him and his sisters) and then he goes to bed with no electronics at all in his room. We tried sending him to bed earlier hoping this would ensure he would fall asleep at an earlier time, but this doesn’t seem to be working. It’s almost like he can’t shut his mind off. Even if I sit in his room to ensure he stays in his bed, he will still take several hours to fall asleep and then most mornings will be up bright and early around 6am. We have had him tested for disorders on two separate occasions and they find nothing; he is just quirky they say. Well we are feeling hopeless and are really worried his horrible sleep patterns are not only going to affect him as he gets older, but also the restful sleep his sisters receive as their rooms are adjacent to his and they can hear him carrying on in their late at night. I refuse to tell his pediatrician about this problem because I am worried they will just try to force medication on us, which is not something I am comfortable with. If you could please shed some light on our issue, and whether you would think melatonin in a small dose would be a good way to try and help my son sleep I would greatly appreciate it! I was thinking of talking to a naturopath and seeing what they have to say, because I am afraid that maybe something he is ingesting could play a big role in his sleep issues. Again, great article, and I hope to hear from you!

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted October 8, 2013 4:28 pm

      Hello Angie,

      I am glad you found our post on melatonin helpful. You seem to be doing all the right things to get your son to fall asleep earlier. Talking to a naturopath could be a good thing if the cost is not an issue. You could still involve his pediatrician about his problem. The medication he would recommend could be melatonin or a life style change like keeping his room dark and cool. Perhaps your son would like ‘white noise” to drown out the sounds around him or soothing, relaxing sounds. Hope you find a solution.

      I have updated your comment with the corrections you wanted and deleted the other comment. The best to you and yours, Angie!

    • David Posted October 24, 2013 10:34 am

      Angie- what I noticed with melatonin for my 5 year old son is that it would help him fall asleep initially but it would not keep him asleep.

      Additionally during the time span he was on it, which was recently, his behavior changed and not for the better. While he would have fits occasionally before they were low level while now they are often and flat out screaming, stomping his foot out of control tantrums. He is also incredibly moody. We have stopped giving it to him, we were giving less than 1 MG, to rule it out as the cause. He’s also had to switch sitters recently but these tantrums did not coincide with when he started there but rather with the melatonin, or so it seems, so he’s off of it and may not go back on it.

      We had spoken to his pediatrician before putting him on it and he was ok with it, though my prior research online left me concerned because according to what I read it is possible that it can affect growth, sexual development and puberty. The two side effects listed above, confusion and irritability, are what I am worried might be happening with my son currently. I have not found anyone online discussing if they’ve seen it with their children while using it but I continue to research.

      It’s also quite possible he’s just being 5 and trying to test his boundaries.

      • sol Posted February 4, 2014 10:56 pm

        do you know by now any more info?
        does melatonin cause Precocious Puberty

        • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 5, 2014 4:43 pm

          Sol, I cannot answer your question if melatonin causes prcocious puberty. If you google this you will find different opinions on the topic. Does another visitor to our site know more about this subject?

      • Mary Posted March 2, 2014 2:09 pm

        We are seeing the same behavior changes in our 3 1/2 year old grandson. He had behavior issues before but they have gotten worse since using melatonin this past month.

    • Robin Posted March 17, 2014 1:42 pm

      Hi Angie – I know your post is several months old now, but your story sounds exactly like our situation. The only difference is that my son was been diagnosed with ADHD at age five. (He is 12 now.) Like you, we tried everything! Another mom with an ADHD son mentioned that we should have a sleep study done because of my son’s sleep issues. Sure enough, the results showed that he has Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) – meaning his muscles involuntarily twitch while he’s asleep causing him to never really get into deep REM sleep. REM sleep is also when your body produces growth hormone, so it’s no wonder that he has growth issues as well. I learned that PLMD is different from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) in that he doesn’t have painful leg cramps with PLMD – just twitching of the muscles. We saw a pediatric neurologist who ordered the sleep study. I know you said you’re against medications and I would prefer not to add yet another medication either. However, the gabapentin (generic for Neurontin) seems to help keep him asleep but we still haven’t found a method or medication (natural or prescription) that helps him to consistently fall asleep. The best we have found so far is to rotate melatonin, benedryl, and even xanax. Melatonin works great for about two weeks and then he seems to grow tolerant. Then we switch to benedryl and this works for a couple of weeks and so on. I hate all these meds but his mind will race until two or three in the morning and then he’s groggy and crabby the next day. It also makes no difference if he’s on or off his ADHD meds – that was the first thing I suspected because it’s a stimulant. Our whole household, like yours, is affected by his night owl behavior. Please let me know if you figure out something that works for you. In the meantime, you might want to have a sleep study done. Best of luck!

      • Lorna dEntremont Posted April 7, 2014 9:34 am

        Thank you so much, Robin, for your comment to help Angie. Hope your son is sleeping better and that your whole household can sleep also. Your information on sleep studies will be helpful to other parents also.

  • toms mum Posted October 18, 2013 9:41 am

    my son has been on melatonin for 9 years he has aspergers severe anxiety disorder and spd. the last few months melatonin is not working and he can go for 3 days with no sleep. my doctor prescribed a hypnotic for him which has no affect only giving him a headache i am now at the point of asking my doctor if he can have an mri scan to find out what is going on.my son is 17 years old and it is causing him a lot of distress

  • Lorna dEntremont Posted October 18, 2013 1:53 pm

    Thanks, Elissa, gland you liked our post on melatonin.

  • Deanna Posted December 5, 2013 2:37 am

    Thank you for the information, I was freaking out because of a few articles I had read about melitonin being very dangerous for kids! My 3 an 5 yr old have been taking it on an off for about year an a half , there sleep patterns have seemed to become pretty normal now, but I’m really scared to take them off because of what I read… I read that some children develop seizers or night terrors … Should I just stop giving it to them or wean them down I give them 5mg quick dissolve..

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted December 5, 2013 3:35 pm

      Hello Deanna, I am sorry but I do not feel I can answer your question. When in doubt for something like this perhaps it would be best to consult a health care professional. It is good that your children sleep better now. Hopefully it will continue.

  • Austin Posted December 13, 2013 10:30 am

    Everything iiѕ very open with a precise clarification of the issues.
    It ωaѕ defіnitely informative. Your site is very useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted December 13, 2013 7:56 pm

      Thanks Austin glad you felt our post on melatonin was helpful.

  • Joanne Posted December 24, 2013 9:32 am

    My 17 year old daughter has been taking Malatonin for just over a week and to be honest it has not made much difference to her sleep. This is what her paediatrician has pescribed and I am at a loss as to what else we can do. 3 -4 hours sleep a night is not healthy and we were really hoping this would work….

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted December 24, 2013 10:32 am

      Thanks for your comment, Joanne. If the melatonin still does not work for your 17 year old bring it up with your doctor. Your doctor might adjust the dosage and suggest life style changes that might help her sleep.

  • Zidan Posted January 24, 2014 11:26 pm

    I am 15 and I have been sleep deprived for too long. I feel like killing myself (but I can’t tell my parents this, they know I can’t sleep and that it’s made me ’emotional’ but not this bad). If I were to go to a doctor about this, would he prescribe me pills? Conventional wisdom on a ‘healthy diet’ has proven to be untrue and misguided to me in all honesty. Nothing has worked and I have exams coming up soon. Do schools offer any help/adjustments to students with sleeping difficulties? No-one seems to have the answers and teachers tell me to simply man up and stop going to sleep late and making excuses.

    • Pierrette Posted January 25, 2014 11:17 am

      Hello,

      If you have a school counsellor (I don’t mean career counsellor. Here in Nova Scotia we often have high school student life counsellors.) he/she may be able to be an advocate for you, as well as an “ear” and someone you can talk to about what your next step should be. Sleep deprivation is a tough issue to deal with. Here is a link to the Online Community of the National Sleep Foundation: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/primary-links/online-community Facebook can be annoying at times these days, but the support information from people that may really “get it” is helpful. – Pierrette

      • Zidan Posted January 25, 2014 4:52 pm

        Hi,

        Thank you for replying and suggesting me seek a counsellor. I’ll go to my doctor and get diagnosed with insomnia and see if going to a school counsellor could get me some help. You right about he/she being someone I could simply talk to about this matter, which is something I feel like I really need right now. At best I could get some leeway in coming late to school. It’s not out of disobedience after all. The more I look into sleep deprivation and its consequences, the worse I feel about myself and the more I feel that schools have neglected students with the same issue.

        I’ve decided to try some ‘experimental’ techniques to help with this. I’ve used them before and they seemed to actually help, but it didn’t last. I should keep trying though.

        • Lorna dEntremont Posted January 26, 2014 8:33 am

          Yes, speaking with a school counsellor and your doctor would be a good plan for you. Not being able to sleep is a serious issue, one that affects everyone especially teens like you; therefore, talk to someone reliable about it. Sometimes life style changes also help in getting a more restful night’s sleep. Here I mean making sure you eat well and have time for doing physical activity during the day. Also be careful about drinking too much coffee or other drinks with caffeine. Some areas have “drop in” healths clinics or even “Help Phone Lines” with staff avaiblable to help individuals with problems so you could check out if your area has this. Lorna

  • Yadira Posted February 3, 2014 2:19 pm

    My 7 year old daughter just started waking up in the middle of the night every single night. It started about a month ago. She refuses to go back to sleep unless she sleeps in my bed. instead of putting up a fight at 2am on a school night we just give in and let her jump in. I was thinking of trying melatonin to help her stay asleep through the night.

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 3, 2014 7:09 pm

      Yadira, what you describe is surely difficult for both the child and the parents. I understand that you feel that if any of you are going to be able to sleep it is simpler to let the child jump in your bed. I know some children when they awaken in the night and all is quiet they become very anxious and scared. You could perhaps consult your family doctor to find out if melatonin would help your child sleep through the night. Hope you find a solution soon.

  • MichellE Posted February 3, 2014 11:52 pm

    i have a now 3 year old, she has had trouble falling asleep and stay sleeping consistently. We have tried ALL of the advice about helping her sleep. She is always going, she has a very hard time settling down it would takes couple hours every nite to get her to sleep its been horrible I feel so bad for her because she is sooo tired but can’t seem to slow down turn her mind off. She recently got a horrible cold she was coughing so bad she would vomit. I have always believed a natural remedy is best. My husband found a nite time cough suppressant. It consisted of honey and melatonin. Well it worked like a dream. She has been falling asleep in 15 min and staying asleep. I was so excited that we found something that could help her. But now I am concerned about the risks. After her cough goes away
    Dmi would like to give her the meletonin as a sleep aid. She is smart very verbal no development issues. Just I believe ADHD. I don’t want to harm her but this is like the answer to our prayers . She goes to bed within 15 min she is asleep. Happy as a clam in morning I’m torn

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 4, 2014 6:52 am

      Michelle, we appreciate that you are sharing your “sleep story”. Many times cough suppressant do not only contain two ingredients; therefore, after your child’s cough has cleared it might be best to discontinue it. I suggest you consult your family doctor and have your child evaluated and explain about her trouble in falling asleep and staying asleep consistently. Tell your doctor about the success you had with the cough suppressant and ask about melatonin for your child. Hope you find a solution soon because it is so difficult for both parents and child when no one has adequate sleep.

    • Anita Posted March 5, 2014 10:42 pm

      This is my story for my 4 year old. The 2 weeks that she was taking the Zarbees Nightime formula was wonderful. It was as if we had a different child. She was more pleasant. She didn’t have dark circles under her eyes. She played better.

      I’m torn. I stopped the cough meds after the 2 weeks. It’s been 2 months & her sleep & behavior has deteriorated. I know she needs sleep but I don’t want to create another problem either.

      • Lorna dEntremont Posted March 6, 2014 6:44 am

        Thanks Anita for stopping by and reading our post on melatonin as a sleep aid. Now that you know how much better your child is when she is able to sleep well could be a good time to visit your family doctor and explain her sleeping problem. Taking meds, even over-the-counter meds, for long periods of time should only be done after it has been prescribed by a professional. When kids have physical exercise like playing outside they sometimes sleep better. You could see if doing some of the other suggestions in our post could help.

  • Amelia Posted February 20, 2014 3:25 am

    Very informative article, thank you for sharing it with us. I have heard some terrific as well as some troubling experiences with Melatonin. I wonder about what is the formal medical opinion as for giving it to kids who have adhd.

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 20, 2014 7:47 am

      Pleased you liked our post on melatonin, Amelia. I do not know the “formal medical opinion” on melatonin for kids with ADHD. All I know is that one of my friends is giving it to her two kids with ADHD on her family doctor’s advice.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPrE-fly45M Posted February 25, 2014 3:37 am

    Having read this I believed it was extremely informative.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this content together.
    I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted February 25, 2014 6:50 am

      Happy to read, Dorothea, that you found our post on melatonin informative.

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  • Wendy Posted September 15, 2014 8:46 am

    I have a 10 year old daughter who just started at night give us a hard time to go to sleep. But sometimes once she falls asleep she will wake up once and stay up for a few mins and we go back and forth telling her how important it is for her to sleep. Her doctor told us that she has anxiety. Which I also have. But he will not give her nothing for it. (Which I do not want her stuck on something forever) but at least give her something that she will not get addicted to and help her through this time in her life. What should I do? She is also seeing a counselor. But she told us to try something that is all natural which we have and she could taste it in her drink. She can not swallow pills nor does she like to take any type of medicines. Please help us. thanks

  • melissa Posted October 27, 2014 9:47 pm

    Thank you for this article. I’m curious on the side effects for children under age 10?
    Our son is 6 and has always been a “busy boy” he was very aggressive and not focusing at school. Often disrupting the class.
    On Oct 19th we increased his Melatonin from 5mg to 10mg (2 pills) and he has been much happier. Notes from school now say “Wow, Great Day!) We have found something that helps him remain calm throughout the day at school.
    I am worried though, Are we giving him too much at such a young age? Thank you!

  • Sheila Posted October 28, 2014 12:36 am

    Very informative article! A couple things have me quite concerned tho. I’d like to know more about how it affects sexual development. Also about dosing. My 4 year old can only fall asleep & stay asleep on 15mg of the chewable gummies (weaned down from 20 mg). Eve tried weaning down more but then it’s completely ineffective. Anything less than 15mg & his body twitches all through the night & he frequently wakes up. He’s had an MRI & EEG which were normal.
    His Dr. isn’t thrilled about the high dosage but she still prefers that over an actual sleep med like Trazadone. We’ve tried everything else we can think of, he gets LOTS of physical activity & also jumps on his trampoline for an hour or two before bed.
    Any thoughts?

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted October 28, 2014 10:54 am

      Hello Sheila, Glad that our post on melatonin was helpful. I’m sorry but I cannot tell you how melatonin affects sexual development. I have read a few articles about it; therefore, you can search the internet and perhaps find your answer. You seem to be doing the right things for helping your son sleep by encouraging him to do a lot of physical activity. Try not to have him do those physical activities right before bedtime but have a quiet winding down time and a bed routine.

  • mahogany Posted January 10, 2016 9:48 am

    We have tried everything to get our special needs children to sleep melatonin, clonidine and hydroxyzine and nothing works he only sleeps for maybe 3 to 4 hours and then back up all night what can we do. I’m so exhausted please help if you have any tips.???

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted January 13, 2016 3:59 pm

      Hello Mahogany, I can see why you are exhausted. I’m afraid that except for the suggestions in our post, I cannot give you more advice on how to help your children sleep more hours each night. We have another post which is on teens and sleep but it might have tips for your kids took, Help Your Sleep Deprived Teen Fall Asleep Earlier and Easier http://kidcompanions.wpengine.com/help-your-teen-fall-asleep-earlier-and-easier/. Hope you find solutions soon. Lorna

    • Sunny Posted January 22, 2016 8:50 am

      Same problem get. Melatonin works like a charm…..until it doesn’t! My daughter has weeks-long phases where she barely sleeps (2.5 hours last night), and where even doubling the melatonin does NOTHING for her. It’s terrible.

      • Lorna dEntremont Posted January 22, 2016 2:15 pm

        Hello Sunny, Wish I new what to tell you. All I can say is to do what your child’s doctor tells you to do. Melatonin comes in “slow release” form etc. Also WHEN you give it is important too. Hope you find a solution soon. Nothing is worse than trying to cope on a few hours of sleep. Lorna

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  • Stephanie Posted April 24, 2017 4:12 pm

    We have twin daughter’s who are both SPD. One takes 10mg melatonin and the other is now up to 15mg. The one who takes 15mg can stay awake until 11 pm sometimes. We’ve been told 15mg is too much for her.

    • Lorna dEntremont Posted April 25, 2017 9:53 am

      Hello Stephanie, It is recommended that parents discuss with their children’s family doctor about taking melatonin. This professional would know the dosage children should take. It must depend on the age, the size, etc. of each child. Hope you get the information you need so you can all have a restful sleep. Lorna

  • Vertie Magelssen Posted June 1, 2020 7:30 am

    I loved your content, the whole post is written very well. I have been searching for informative regarding the sleep subject and this really helped me. I have always struggled with sleeping I am not sure why either. Sleep supplements have always made me feel on edge as they can have side effects. Thank you again stay safe and wishing you a lovely day.

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