The Great Melatonin Debate

Connor has never been a great sleeper. It's all we can do to get him to go to bed, let alone stay asleep. Since the day he was born, he's just never been a restful child. We've done everything to soothing music, activity to 'wear' him out, to a consistent bed-time routine. Nothing works. We've been given the suggestion to try Melatonin by both is pediatrician and his doctors at the Behavioral Clinic. They both expressed concern that possibly Connor's body wasn't able to regulate his sleep patterns properly. That Melatonin was a naturally occuring hormone and that it wasn't like taking a medication with side-effects. It would either work or it wouldn't. So, we chewed on the idea of Melatonin for awhile. And finally decided to take the plunge.

The first week, we gave Connor a very low dose. I'm talking 1/2 a mg. It seemed to make him fall asleep pretty quickly, but he would wake up throughout the night. He didn't know where he was, he was basically walking and talking in his sleep. This was a little alarming. We finally got a dose that we think works. He falls asleep about a half-an-hour after taking it & stays asleep....at 2mg.

The thing is, that I sort of feel like Nurse Ratchett. I mean, we took our time making the decision. We're doing it at the advice of many doctors. We're giving him relatively low doses, but we've had family members express their opinions on it & when asked to administer it to Connor one time, they refused.
The other night, we ran out of Melatonin. I called the health food store where we get it from, to see if they had it in stock. Even the worker there went on listing the concerns regarding administering Melatonin to a young child - under the age of 18.

Is something that occurs naturally in our own bodies that dangerous? Would the pediatrician & the therapists at Behavioral Clinic recommend something that was harmful? I understand there are risks with everything. We've gone four years with interrupted sleep. That's not good for us & it's not good for Connor. He needs his sleep. When he doesn't sleep, he is a mess. Emotionally & physically. I hope people realize that in doing this, we're trying to help him. Just as if he had a cold, cut, burn or disease. We would want to give him something that could potentially help him. Not hurt him.

Is it wrong to give him 2 mg. of Melatonin to help the sleep along??

Do any of you give your children Melatonin?

*****Added on*****
I found this here:

"Sleep disturbance is common in childhood, and is particularly problematic in children with neurological problems such as learning difficulties, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy, as well as children with visual impairment (partial or complete). This is probably because these children have difficulty recognising and attuning their sleep cycle to the outside world's sleep-wake cycle"

6 ripples in the pond:

slackermommy said...

I don't see anything wrong with giving him Melatonin. Sounds like you did your homework, your pediatrition and therapist recommend it so screw the naysayers. So many people have issues with giving children anything that they perceive as mood altering. It's funny how my hubby's family has no problem with us giving our son meds for his asthma and allergies but have strong opinions about giving our daughter ADD medication. Trust your gut. You know what is right for your son.

Pippajo said...

This probably won't help you, but it might be entertaining!

When My Girl was 18 months old we had to take her to the ER on CHRISTMAS EVE because she had ingested an undetermined amount of melatonin.

We were at my Mom's, and My Girl had wandered into the bedroom and got into her bedside table. My Mom had a bottle of melatonin in there, it wasn't child proof and the stuff smelled and tasted like peppermint candies. My Girl came down the stairs with the bottle in her hand, munching away. I didn't know if she had eaten 1 or 20 so we called poison control.

They had no idea what the deal was with melatonin and kids. !? They told us to take her to the ER where THEY didn't know the deal with melatonin and kids. They made us sit there for 4 hours for observation.

She was fine, never showed any symptoms except perhaps a little bit of extra excitability, but it was Christmas Eve! We always reminisce about the year we spent Christmas Eve in the ER. Sweet memories.

See? I told you it wouldn't be very helpful. Except for the fact that we know she ate at least one pill at the normal dosage for adults and she was only 18 months old and she was fine.

Also, it's nobody's business but yours, your Ravioli, and your ped how you treat your son. Everyone else can go eat a hat.

That is all. For now.

Pippajo said...

One more thing:

What a cutie!

Peace out.

Tabba said...

Thanks you guys! It's always good to hear a little encouragement!!

Thanks, he is a cutie, if I must say so myself :)

As are yours. Those eyes on your Boy......sheesh....watch out!

travis said...

i'm 30, and have tried taking melatonin as an adult, to deal with mild insomnia. it helped me sleep better. but it did have side effects - i have the wildest, scary, trippy, nightmares i've ever had. the dreams and nightmares were so intense that i decided to stop taking the melatonin. i'm sure it works differently on everybody, but when you mentioned him walking and talking in his sleep, reminded me of when i tried it.

anyway, you might want to give it a try yourself for a week or so just to get an idea of how it feels to take it.

Tabba said...

Thanks for the input, Travis. Yeah, we noticed that he was getting scared at night as he was 'sleep walking & talking'. And he was waking up talking about wild dreams.
Thanks for sharing! I appreciate the input :)