when is melatonin useful? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-30-2010, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ds's psychologist mentioned the possibility of melatonin...but I'm not sure if ds really meets the criteria for needing it, lol. That sounds funny, i can't explain what I mean. Basically, ds sleeps all right (I'd say 8-9 hours most nights and he's 8.5 years old)...he's always slept a little less than average. Sometimes his allergies make it hard for him to sleep, and sometimes his anxieties do...but for the most part he falls asleep pretty quickly. We've had long stretches where he might take an hour or more to fall asleep, but that hasn't happened in a long time and since starting school it's taking him about 15-30 minutes each night. The reason he might benefit from it is he never feels or acts tired. He doesn't like going to bed. He often wakes early. I think most of his sleep problems are due to fears and allergies, not an actual sleep issue...but not sure. Would it be worth trying?

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Old 09-30-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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Melatonin won't keep him asleep, it only helps with falling asleep. I'd think it's something you could give him when he's having one of those nights where it's taking forever for him to fall asleep. I'd say that if he's only taking 15-30 minutes most nights to fall asleep he wouldn't need it those nights.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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8-9 hours a night is on the short side of sleep needs for an 8 year old.

DS1 was having trouble getting enough sleep last year. He never felt tired and stayed up reading way later than he should. I found that if I gave him melatonin when he started acting tired then he felt tired soon afterward and was willing to lie down and sleep much earlier in the evening than without the melatonin. It definitely helped.

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Old 09-30-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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You also can use it short term just to get a good cycle going. If you try it for a week or two and get him sleeping better then you can always see if the new routine works without it.

And what we've found is that sleep begets sleep. If either of my kids gets too little sleep, they're more inclined to keep getting too little sleep. If we can keep their sleep meeting their needs, they generally sleep better and easier.

It's just that getting them into a routine that works for their bodies is very challenging and all it takes is one off day to mess it all up again. Sleep issues are rough, I'm sorry.

The good thing about melatonin is that it's cheap and easy to try and if it doesn't work for him, you can just stop it. So it's one of those things that's worth a shot if it might help. If not, you can just cross it off the list.
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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Melatonin won't keep him asleep, it only helps with falling asleep. I'd think it's something you could give him when he's having one of those nights where it's taking forever for him to fall asleep. I'd say that if he's only taking 15-30 minutes most nights to fall asleep he wouldn't need it those nights.
I agree. We use it. Our son is 8 yo. I don't like using it, but finally we realized that using it at times is worth him getting enough sleep! he gets about 10-11 hrs on a good night. I kinda think your son may benefit from more sleep but you are the best judge. DS has a really hard time turning his brain off, and/or he's really into whatever book he's reading and doesn't want to stop. Things get really bad in summer but regulate more with school.

Do you give him anything for allergies? maybe that would help?
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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btw, we use an orange sublingual kind which he actually just chews. It's by Natural Factor's and is 1 mg but he only needs 0.5 which is very little. Usually it takes about 30 min to take effect.
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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I kinda think your son may benefit from more sleep but you are the best judge. DS has a really hard time turning his brain off, and/or he's really into whatever book he's reading and doesn't want to stop. Things get really bad in summer but regulate more with school.


The pill dosages I have seen are 5mg, 3mg, and 1mg; it also comes in liquid form. Once ds lays down he is out in 10-20min. There is also the option of herbal tea: Sleepy Time Tea.

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Old 10-01-2010, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the info, I like the idea of having it on hand for those nights when he is having a hard time falling asleep. It's at least worth a try. I think my hubby might benefit too...he has insomnia sometimes.

He is taking Allegra for allergies he was taking zyrtec but it wasn't cutting it...allegra doesn't seem to be doing much good either. I'm going to try the natural/holistic route...for a long time they didn't bother him much and we just kept benadryl and zyrtec on hand for the occasional bad night, but since we moved (about 18 months ago) it's an almost constant problem for him.

tea! i forgot about tea...I love using the herbal teas for colds/sore throats, we'll have to give the sleepy time one a try.

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Old 10-01-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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It also depends on the melatonin, what you're trying to achieve, etc. Most people only know about fast acting which just helps you fall asleep. Our DD has a sleep disorder that goes along with her Autism. We found sustained-release melatonin is what works for her. It helps her fall asleep and get back to sleep when she does wake between 9-11pm. It's benefitted her hugely. She now gets ~10 hours per night with only 1 waking and a very quick return to sleep. Before it was maybe 7 hours with 3-5 wakings, she had trouble falling asleep initially and any time she woke up it took at least 20 minutes to get her back asleep. Immediate results were an improved demeanor, better behavior, higher frustration tolerance, more energy and just a happier, healthier kid. She gets 6mg at supper time.

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Old 10-01-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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It also depends on the melatonin, what you're trying to achieve, etc. Most people only know about fast acting which just helps you fall asleep. Our DD has a sleep disorder that goes along with her Autism. We found sustained-release melatonin is what works for her. It helps her fall asleep and get back to sleep when she does wake between 9-11pm. It's benefitted her hugely. She now gets ~10 hours per night with only 1 waking and a very quick return to sleep. Before it was maybe 7 hours with 3-5 wakings, she had trouble falling asleep initially and any time she woke up it took at least 20 minutes to get her back asleep. Immediate results were an improved demeanor, better behavior, higher frustration tolerance, more energy and just a happier, healthier kid. She gets 6mg at supper time.
Where did you find sustained release melatonin? I have never seen it.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:57 AM
 
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Where did you find sustained release melatonin? I have never seen it.
I'm interested in this answer, too! Our pediatrician suggested melatonin for my twins, who have frequent night wakings and disturbed sleep architecture. It makes it very easy for them to go to sleep (which had also been a problem, though not as bad as the wakings) but does nothing for the night wakings.

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Old 10-01-2010, 02:04 AM
 
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Where did you find sustained release melatonin? I have never seen it.
I've actually found it at Walmart- of all places. I use it with my oldest on nights she is having a lot of trouble sleeping and it does halp. In our case, we really only use it when her sleep cycle is disordered, and for a few days in a row to 'reset' it for her.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:56 AM
 
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I think I saw sustained rel. MT at a local store which is like Whole Foods. I also wanted to add that you need to chk the ingredients b/c sometimes they add vitamin B which causes some kids to perk up! and you don't want that!
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:58 AM
 
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It also depends on the melatonin, what you're trying to achieve, etc. Most people only know about fast acting which just helps you fall asleep. Our DD has a sleep disorder that goes along with her Autism. We found sustained-release melatonin is what works for her. It helps her fall asleep and get back to sleep when she does wake between 9-11pm. It's benefitted her hugely. She now gets ~10 hours per night with only 1 waking and a very quick return to sleep. Before it was maybe 7 hours with 3-5 wakings, she had trouble falling asleep initially and any time she woke up it took at least 20 minutes to get her back asleep. Immediate results were an improved demeanor, better behavior, higher frustration tolerance, more energy and just a happier, healthier kid. She gets 6mg at supper time.
That must have been really hard on your family! I know what it's like and it can really put so much stress on everyone. I'm glad the melatonin is working well.
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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tea! i forgot about tea...I love using the herbal teas for colds/sore throats, we'll have to give the sleepy time one a try.
I had insomnia when I was pregnant with dd; STT is surprisingly effective.

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Old 10-02-2010, 04:11 AM
 
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so is it the chamomile in stt? maybe i will buy that. it't been a long time!
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Old 10-02-2010, 04:58 AM
 
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yeah, that's not enough sleep
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Old 10-05-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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Not really related to the topic, although we all take melatonin if we need it. I haven't noticed any negative side effects at all, and it's a great way to get a good night's sleep if you need it. Dh can get by with 3 mg, I have to take 6, and the older kids get 1. We started it because my oldest is an insomniac. She would fall asleep at 10, if we were lucky, midnight if it was a hard night and wake up at 6. It's just not enough sleep.

But what I was going to say is, for allergies, is your child on anything else besides Allegra? Pills have little value controlling allergies on their own, he should also take a nose spray (flonase is what my dd and I take) and eye drops (we take Patanol). We also have asthma, which typically goes with allrgies, so we have inhalers for that. You can also take both Singular and Allgera, and during certain times of the year that is what I do. When my allergies are bohtering me, I can't sleep either. Benedryl can help sometimes (if I didn't take allegra, you shouldn't take both), and the melatonin helps as well. If my allergies are doing OK, I sleep fine. But when they flare up I can't fall asleep for anything.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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Wanted to add that I've tried Bach flower remedies with our DS and they didn't even work I was all freaked out by the tiny alcohol content in them and it was like no change at all. They have one called Rescue Sleep and it's a spray.

Anyway, it may help someone out there but not my kid!
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:12 AM
 
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so is it the chamomile in stt? maybe i will buy that. it't been a long time!

Not on its own.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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Re: SUSTAINED RELEASE MELATONIN

I have found it at health food stores. It's possible to order it from pharmacies but they're reluctant to stock it as everyone wants the regular variety.

I had no idea you could get it at WalMart! I'll be looking there next time I go!

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Old 10-07-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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We use a melatonin spray by Source Naturals that is sustained release. It's been very, very helpful with our sleepless Fragile X boy
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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Please be careful that you are giving a physiological dose (making up for deficiency only). From what I can reason from years of trying to solve sleep issues, the action required for melatonin to be effective in keeping one asleep is a state of lowered cortisol. This is a healthy function, but if it's brought about with an overdose of melatonin, it could cause breathing difficulties in susceptible children, such as those with a tendency toward croup or asthma.

During croup or asthma attacks, a cortisol-type synthetic hormone is given to open the airways.

Try supplementing with magnesium citrate before going to melatonin. We dropped melatonin when our son needed a 1am, emergency dose of Ativan so he could breathe.

It seems that what we all needed was supplementary magnesium. When the peas are still being harvested, we can eat those and have plenty, but when they're done, we need capsules. Also, cod liver oil (with the right proportion of A and D) plays a vital role in absorption.

Next year, we'll quadruple our pea crop for this reason. Mag citrate and CLO solved the sleep problems, which were severe for all of us. I wish I'd come across this earlier.

Now instead of suggesting looking further into hormonal issues, I highly recommend researching the role of magnesium in the body so you can find out where along the pathway things are going wrong.

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