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Melatonin for 5 yr. old?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Anyone have a 5 (4-6) yr. old taking Melatonin?

I'm thinking about trying it for dd if I can find chewable 1mg tablets. She never refuses to go to bed, but often ends up lying awake for up to 90 min, frustrated and anxious that she can't sleep even though she's exhausted. She just can't turn her mind off, and our relaxation/meditation CD's don't always work any more.

She also wakes up on the early side, and if it's after 5am or so, she can't fall back asleep. She will sometimes end up sleeping only from about 10-6, or even 11-6.

I've done a LOT of reading, and don't have any concerns so far. Any thoughts, warnings, experiences, comments, etc. from those of you who have tried Melatonin for your kids?
post #2 of 17
Hi,

I had my 5 year old on it until he was 6 or so. He has ADHD/PDD-NOS and it was recommended by our doc. It worked and didn't seem to have any side effects. He is 10 now and no longer takes it as he falls asleep on his own. (A tad later than other 10 year olds probably but that schedule works for us.)

HTH!
post #3 of 17
My four year old is on it. It was recommended by a metabolic neurologist and a geneticist who were unconnected to each other. I feel comfortable with it and it does help us.
While it won't directly help with the early waking you may find that if she falls asleep easier and is better rested she'll sleep longer. At least that is true of my kiddo.
For him I use .25 mg. This is plenty for us and you want to go with the lowest dose that works. Hopefully it will help the body not build up tolerance. I just break tablets or sprinkle out 1/4 a capsule or whatever to get .25 mg.
I've heard you should do breaks so the body doesn't build up tolerance. It isn't harmful if it does build tolerance..you'd just have to take a break for a week and then it would be ok. But I've not given my son a break in probably 6 months now without any decrease in effectiveness.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by kamilla626 View Post
Anyone have a 5 (4-6) yr. old taking Melatonin?

I'm thinking about trying it for dd if I can find chewable 1mg tablets. She never refuses to go to bed, but often ends up lying awake for up to 90 min, frustrated and anxious that she can't sleep even though she's exhausted. She just can't turn her mind off, and our relaxation/meditation CD's don't always work any more.

She also wakes up on the early side, and if it's after 5am or so, she can't fall back asleep. She will sometimes end up sleeping only from about 10-6, or even 11-6.

I've done a LOT of reading, and don't have any concerns so far. Any thoughts, warnings, experiences, comments, etc. from those of you who have tried Melatonin for your kids?

I would try warm milk and honey before melatonin...

I struggled with insomnia as an adult, and I took melatonin pills for 2-3 weeks. I had the most horrible night terror experience when I started the pills. I don't know if the pills is what caused it, but I will NEVER take melatonin again. I woke up unable to move or to speak with a terrifying feeling inside, and I wonder if the pills is what kept my body "asleep" while my mind tried to wake up.

I stopped taking the pills the day after the experience, and never had it repeated.
post #5 of 17
My almost-6-year-old has taken Melatonin for a year or so, and it has worked wonderfully! No problems at all here. We decrease the amount until we find the least amount that still works.
post #6 of 17
I give both my kids (2.5 and 4.5) melatonin, 1mg each night. I use a capsule with powder inside and sprinkle a little bit of juice (just 2-3 T is plenty)--in case you can't find a chewable version. And actually I take it too, 5mg right now.

We didn't have any bad effects and it's working well.

I'd suggest, after you try it and it works, start trying to understand why your daughter's natural production isn't sufficient (obviously no need to do this if it doesn't help ). Because that seems more fundamental, and maybe very important. I give the kids magnesium too--I figured that out on my own, before we found our healthcare provider, and that helped too (helped my daughter, not my son). It wasn't enough alone, but it helped.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I would try warm milk and honey before melatonin...

I struggled with insomnia as an adult, and I took melatonin pills for 2-3 weeks. I had the most horrible night terror experience when I started the pills. I don't know if the pills is what caused it, but I will NEVER take melatonin again. I woke up unable to move or to speak with a terrifying feeling inside, and I wonder if the pills is what kept my body "asleep" while my mind tried to wake up.

I stopped taking the pills the day after the experience, and never had it repeated.
That sounds very scary. FWIW, I use melatonin myself many nights and have never experienced that or anything different at all. It sounds terrifying though and I can understand not wanting to go through that again.
Honey and milk wouldn't work for my kiddo...that I am sure.
Some kids though don't respond to melatonin. I've heard of people trying valerian if you want a melatonin alternative.
post #8 of 17
I think it may work for my 5 yo. Because in the winter, she sleeps 8:45 pm 7 am (not what books recommend for her age, but it works fine for her) however, when - because of the longer days and the lightsaving hour change - it is still very light outside at 8:30 it is very difficult for her to settle, even if I make her room very dark. I I let her be she will sleep 9:45 - 8 but that just doesn't work b'se of school. I really think maybe her body starts producing the melatonin a little later in the summer... however I so hesitate giving her drugs... at the same time, she was very healthy in the winter and the spring and summer months she has been sick much more often and very irritable.. not sure...
post #9 of 17
We use a homeopathic by Hylands called Calms Forte. It works like a charm, and is completely safe.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
This is plenty for us and you want to go with the lowest dose that works. Hopefully it will help the body not build up tolerance.
This was our experience with Calms Forte and melatonin. When they wore off our kids were up, no matter what time of the morning it was.
Make sure her bedtime is not too late, or you might have a night owl and an early riser in the same kid.
post #11 of 17
I have used liquid melationin on and off for my soon to be 6 yr old. It works well and we haven't seen any negative side effects. He has always been a poor sleeper and has a lot of trouble settling down at night.

I got the liquid at iherb.com
post #12 of 17
Trader Joes has chewable .5mg. We use it occasionally for one of my kids, maybe once every 10 nights or so. Good luck!
post #13 of 17

additional help

Hi!

I think that it's best to try other sources, and leave melatonin as a last resort for various reasons:
-it's a neurohormone that needs to be researched further
-in Europe you cannot buy it over the counter: http://jbr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/12/6/697
- source of melatonin is either synthetic, or from sheeps' pineal glands,
- it is easy to overdose and to have negative effects - irritability, nightmares, hypotension, sleep disorders, abdominal pain,etc.
- so far, all studies of melatonin and children were done on autistic children or blind children, and their bodies do not produce normal amounts of melatonin;
- there is a problem of adding hormones to the body - it makes our bodies lazy;
-all the safety studies conclude melatonin should be given to children only for couple of days, or weeks, the most. It is not a magic pill that should be taken for months and months, and behavioral changes need to accompany it (going to sleep at the certain time, calming down before sleep time, etc.)

From personal experience, I remember being 4 or 5 years old that being awake was just too exciting and I know my mom had trouble putting me to sleep occasionally. This continued on through my elementary and high school years - if I started reading and interesting book, I just could not put it down and go to sleep.

From a herbalist point of view, there are couple of things you can try:
Chamomile tea, Linden flower tea (or combo of these two), Lemon balm tea (or cold infusion - if you have fresh Lemon balm, just put it in cold water and leave it in the fridge overnight = you get benefits of essential oils that are very calming but no tanins), Skullcap tea, Valerian extract or Milky oats seed extract (you can find it in health food stores, "Whole Foods" etc.). You can make Chamomile&Linden tea, and just add 1 dropful of Milky oats seed extract in.
Remember, with herbs, it takes a bit longer than with hormones, but it's much safer and gentler on the body.
Body needs to get used to it, think of "building up" over a period of couple of days/weeks.

Hope you'll find a gentle solution.
post #14 of 17
Thank you for these suggestions kikakika.... I have been ever so reluctant to try melatonin. After reading your post, I think I will try the combination you suggest first. Just a question, what is wrong with tanins? I thought tanins were good? sorry not a specialist in things herbal...
post #15 of 17

Tannins

Tannins are present in many herbs and foods, and they are responsible for that astringent taste. With cold infusion of Lemon balm, you just get the benefit of ess.oils, and a very mild, pleasant taste (that's important if your child is drinking it ). Also, if you cannot find fresh Lemon balm, or dried for your tea, extract is also great. You can add it to Chamomile/Linden tea combo.

Also, tannins are very complex and their action depends on their source and quantity. For instance, in teas high in tannins (usually darker the tea - more tannins it has), it would be advisable to add lemon juice, since tannins interfere with iron absorption, and vitamin C counteracts that action.


Also, a reminder - if you have a child that is allergic to pollen, chamomile tea might cause a reaction (tea is made from chamomile flowers which are full of pollen), in that case, go with extracts first.

Take care!
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
I give both my kids (2.5 and 4.5) melatonin, 1mg each night. I use a capsule with powder inside and sprinkle a little bit of juice (just 2-3 T is plenty)--in case you can't find a chewable version. And actually I take it too, 5mg right now.

We didn't have any bad effects and it's working well.

I'd suggest, after you try it and it works, start trying to understand why your daughter's natural production isn't sufficient (obviously no need to do this if it doesn't help ). Because that seems more fundamental, and maybe very important. I give the kids magnesium too--I figured that out on my own, before we found our healthcare provider, and that helped too (helped my daughter, not my son). It wasn't enough alone, but it helped.
How much magnesium do you give them? My three-year-old has a lot of trouble settling down at night. We've given her melatonin a few times (mostly when we moved back from Asia, and the jet lag was just horrendous) but I'm reluctant to use it except in cases of emergency!
post #17 of 17
Quote:
How much magnesium do you give them?
They each get 110mg at bedtime, they are 30 and 40lbs. You can fiddle with the dose--you'll see diarrhea if you get too high. This isn't the max I could give them (as far as I know), I've never tapered it up because this is meeting our needs.
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