Melatonin works.. but.... - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-09-2007, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have been through the gamut with my 2 year old and sleep.
She has never ever been able to get to sleep~ she just can't turn off, or it takes hours.
After he worst 6 weeks of her life lately we have tried melatonin.
It is freaking amazing stuff!
We have a pedi appt. at the end of the month and an allergist appt. upcoming (she has food and seasonal allergies). All to check on underlying causes.
But my question is about the function of melatonin, how long we can/should use it, dependence (this sin't *her* falling asleep, kwim?).. can someone point me to some resources?

L
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:03 PM
 
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I can't answer your question, but I am curious what other folks say. I also have a 2 y/o and some days it takes only 30-45 minutes for him to fall asleep. Other nights I've yelled at him after 2 hours because he just. will. not. stop. moving.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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I can't answer your question either, but I'm curious how much, what brand of melatonin and how you give it. Our DD (2.75) is a terrible sleeper, waking 6-8 times per night, sometimes for 2 hours at a time. Nothing has worked and our attempts at nightweaning were an absolute disaster. But we haven't tried melatonin.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:26 PM
 
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oh yes! Please, please, please post what brand and dosage you are using. Our DD, 16 mos. can't fall asleep, can't stay asleep..... We are going crazy. Usually I can accept it, but getting up at 3am EVERY NIGHT (for the rest of the DAY!!!!)has us just bonkers...:

please share!
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:11 AM
 
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I'd talk to a sleep specialist about it, but my impression is that because it's simply the same hormone your body produces at that time to signal sleep, that it's not addictive, etc. When I've used it for jetlag there is nothing druggy about the feeling at all, it really doesn't feel like anything other than adjusting more quickly to the new time zone.

It's entirely possible that she has some inborn problem with her own melatonin production, which is why it works so well.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:47 AM
 
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Melatonin is amazing! I use it for myself. The one thing I would be concerned about is the dosing. I'm sure it would be very difficult to give too much. But I'd still be a little worried about it. As far as becoming addicted.. I don't think you need to worry about that since it is a natural hormone and it is possible that this is something that the body is needing. I would just not give it nightly. I'm sure you'd know best when to give it.

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Old 10-10-2007, 03:56 AM
 
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I wouldn't feel right using melatonin for my kids unless I was really really desperate. If I did, I'd just use it to reset the kid's schedule. I've taken it myself, only half the recommended dose and it made me feel really crazy. I felt like I never slept. I just closed my eyes and, boom I was asleep. One second later I opened my eyes and didn't feel tired but also didn't feel like I'd been asleep. Just very weird. If your child is truly sleep deprived, it might be worth it though.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:12 AM
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I once considered using melatonin for my kids because their sleeping patterns were so screwed up, but most of the reading I've done (and a couple of conversations with different doctors) has said that when you start taking melatonin supplements, it inhibits natural production of melatonin, and therefore it should NOT be used in children...because children's melatonin levels are naturally high and supplements may mess up their ability to naturally produce it when they grow older.

I decided against it.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:16 AM
 
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I have read it being used by special needs kids who arent able to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night due to hyperactivity. If your child is normal then I too would advise against using it.

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Old 10-10-2007, 04:19 AM
 
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I agree with the cautionary post above. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe or the best thing for our bodies. I would talk with a naturopath or sleep specialist for sure.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are my concerns:
inhibiting natural production
dependence because her own production drops etc.
natural can still be harmful

Also, I do believe there is an underlying problem with sleep (which is why we are heading to the pedi and hopefully a specialist).
For those asking about dosage~ keep in mind melatonin is not to keep you asleep, just to get you there... we still have the nightwaking for hours, but she can get to sleep int he first placew which cuts our issue in half.
We are using powdered from a capsule, about 0.3mg cut out of a 3 mg capsule dose.

Yes, we are desperate. This kid needs sleep and is completely unable to get there. Unfortunately the wait for specialists etc. is crazy here (we live in Ontario, in the boonies).

We are going to move to intermittent use shortly and see if it has help to either raise levels or reset things (which have always been awry~ thiskid simply quit sleeping at 6 weeks of age and has only slept with HUGE amounts of intervention since then, this is the first we have used ANY chemical).

L
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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Wow, I can't imagine how you are coping. That sounds completely exasperating for both you and your child! I hope you find out what the problem is soon.
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:55 PM
 
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i have concerns about the safety of melatonin after seeing a study linking melatonin as a sleep aid with increased infertility, since it IS a hormone.

I am also concerned about melatonin because of the fact that its a hormone sold over the counter, and "natural" substances arent regulated. This might get me flamed, but marijuana is "natural" but that doesnt mean im going to give it to my kid.

Artie, mom to Riley 3/22/08 and a surprise due Oct 2011!
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:57 PM
 
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that it's not addictive, etc.
I don't quite agree that it's not addictive. Maybe addictive isn't quite the right word- but I definitely think people can build up a dependency for it.

My sister started giving my niece melatonin when she was 4 or 5- now at 11, she can't go to sleep at all unless she takes two.


Personally, I can't take it. It causes nightmares for me, I feel sick when I wake up the next day, sometimes I'll sleep for exactly four hours with it and then wake up and can't fall back asleep. My grandma and brother can't take it, either.

Newly single, chronically sleep deprived mama to my little wild thang wild.gif, born 11/17/12 

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Old 10-10-2007, 08:43 PM
 
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i have concerns about the safety of melatonin after seeing a study linking melatonin as a sleep aid with increased infertility, since it IS a hormone.
If this was online, can you link to it? I'm interested in learning more about this. I just finished a book that touched on how nursing delays ovulation in primates, and the author pointed out that it was nighttime nursing that made the biggest difference. She mentioned melatonin being a factor in this.

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Old 10-10-2007, 09:21 PM
 
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If this was online, can you link to it? I'm interested in learning more about this. I just finished a book that touched on how nursing delays ovulation in primates, and the author pointed out that it was nighttime nursing that made the biggest difference. She mentioned melatonin being a factor in this.
:
Could you please name the book...I would like to read it. I remember back in India my Mom used to tell that a child should never be nursed beyond 2 years of age bcoz milk starts to get toxic or something!!! Now pls dont quote me on that, Its probably a myth or something. I have no idea where they come up with this but your message on delayed ovulation makes me want to wonder whether there is a time limit we should keep when we nurse our kids.

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Old 10-10-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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I used it for DS who just couldn't stay asleep. Ever. Had never slept the night at 4 years old. We used it a lot for a few months, and by golly it worked. It needed to be a high dose like they used in special needs children....3-5 tablets a night (we like GNC's 1mg tablets that are cherry flavored and dissolve in the mouth). Something about it knocked off the old schedule and habits, and he finally started sleeping more normally. Occasionally through the night. He does still wake sometimes now, but usually only once and he can often just go to the bathroom himself and go back to bed, or come sleep in our room. It made all the difference in the world. We don't use it anymore, except when schedules have been knocked off, etc. I've taken it on occasion and it doesn't bother me at all, just kind of helps my mind shut off and I fall asleep. I say if you need to try it temporarily, then by all means do. I wouldn't however look at it as a permanent thing, you know?

I also wanted to add there is a child's version of Calms Forte that came be helpful as well! It's homeopathic.

Amy, USCG wife and homeschooling, ebfing, homebirthing Mama to M (8), L (6), L (2.5)
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good to hear it helped set him in a better pattern. that is our hope ~ short term to kick start a better habit. I appreciate all the points of view and info
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:46 PM
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Have you tried any other homepaths such as Bach flower remedies? Chamomille tea? Calm's forte? Is there a chance your LO is defficient (sp?) in magnesium, which is essential and messes with sleep a lot ---? B vitamins? D vitamin (sunlight delivers this but some people's bodies don't process or convert it very well) If she has food allergies she may be lacking in some nutrients -- even toddlers without allergies are lacking in certain vitamins/minerals more often than not (due to several factors, even if parents provide a healthy diet!)...

I would stop the melatonin --- that is very strong stuff, even if it is *natural* and whatnot and look into other possible defficiencies (sp?!). I would go to a nutritionist that does both wet and dry blood analysis and to a homeopath first.

Almost every issue can be treated with homeopaths and nutrition. Good luck
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:46 AM
 
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I don't quite agree that it's not addictive. Maybe addictive isn't quite the right word- but I definitely think people can build up a dependency for it.

My sister started giving my niece melatonin when she was 4 or 5- now at 11, she can't go to sleep at all unless she takes two.
WOAH! That's some seriously heavy use. I was thinking more along the lines of taking it for a whole week or a month and being worried about addiction, not daily for six or seven YEARS! That'd mess anyone up!

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If this was online, can you link to it? I'm interested in learning more about this. I just finished a book that touched on how nursing delays ovulation in primates, and the author pointed out that it was nighttime nursing that made the biggest difference. She mentioned melatonin being a factor in this.
Melatonin helps regulate the release of many female hormones. BRB with a ref

Man, there is a LOT of research out there, and I'm tired. So far I have it inhibiting GnRH, I know from previous research that LH surges are on a circadian cycle (and hence melatonin affected), it increases the amplitude of prolactin pulses.

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Could you please name the book...I would like to read it. I remember back in India my Mom used to tell that a child should never be nursed beyond 2 years of age bcoz milk starts to get toxic or something!!! Now pls dont quote me on that, Its probably a myth or something. I have no idea where they come up with this but your message on delayed ovulation makes me want to wonder whether there is a time limit we should keep when we nurse our kids.
Delayed ovulation is a GOOD thing - protects against breast and ovarian cancer. Not to mention that by 18 months the majority of women have their periods back despite still nursing.
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:02 AM
 
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WOAH! That's some seriously heavy use. I was thinking more along the lines of taking it for a whole week or a month and being worried about addiction, not daily for six or seven YEARS! That'd mess anyone up!
That was my point, though- the body doesn't fall asleep normally, so it gets used to being on melatonin. After some time, even a short time, the body doesn't really know how to fall asleep anymore.

Newly single, chronically sleep deprived mama to my little wild thang wild.gif, born 11/17/12 

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Old 10-11-2007, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are seeing the dietitian next week ~ due to her allergies dd is missing many things from her diet and it is a concern.
I will look further into the homeopathics... the combination products carried locally all have dairy in them (lactose, caramel etc).
Believe me I don't want to make things worse! We need to figure out *why* she can't get to sleep.
:
L
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:26 AM
 
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Ladies please don't give melatonin freely to your kids. It is a powerful hormone.

I had a severe reaction to ONE pill of melatonin. Yes, it made me drowsy, and I fell asleep, but it was not a restful sleep, I had nightmares, and felt severely depressed and disoriented and unsteady on my feet. This lasted for 3 days after taking the pill. I also, on the 2 nights after taking it, had terrible issues sleeping. This is not an uncommon reaction-- it really bothers me that melatonin is touted as harmless and safe.

Also, studies have shown that some melatonin capsules actually contain 4x the amount of melatonin the label says it should.

I would never give this to a toddler!

I would sooner give chamomile tincture or even a tablespoon of wine before this.
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:12 PM
 
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Could you please name the book...I would like to read it. I remember back in India my Mom used to tell that a child should never be nursed beyond 2 years of age bcoz milk starts to get toxic or something!!! Now pls dont quote me on that, Its probably a myth or something. I have no idea where they come up with this but your message on delayed ovulation makes me want to wonder whether there is a time limit we should keep when we nurse our kids.
The book is "Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection" by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.

Milk doesn't start to get toxic at any point. If mom becomes pregnant while toddler is still nursing, the milk might dry up or change in taste, which could lead to a myth like this. I've had friends whose toddlers complained about the taste of the milk when their mom was pg. Maybe people assumed it meant something was "wrong" with the milk, leading to the myth.

I agree with wannabe about delayed ovulation being a good thing. I was interested in finding out more about melatonin and infertility because I wondered if insufficient melatonin might play a role in the small number of women whose fertility returns early, even when they are following the "rules" for natural child spacing -- no nipple substitutes, nursing frequently day and night.


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Melatonin helps regulate the release of many female hormones. BRB with a ref

Man, there is a LOT of research out there, and I'm tired. So far I have it inhibiting GnRH, I know from previous research that LH surges are on a circadian cycle (and hence melatonin affected), it increases the amplitude of prolactin pulses.
Sorry -- I thought it was just one study you had looked at. Thanks for the info. I wonder if artificial lights that mess up our sleep cycles have an effect on this.

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Old 10-11-2007, 01:21 PM
 
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If this was online, can you link to it? I'm interested in learning more about this. I just finished a book that touched on how nursing delays ovulation in primates, and the author pointed out that it was nighttime nursing that made the biggest difference. She mentioned melatonin being a factor in this.
i honestly dont remember where i saw this, im sorry, i know it makes me sound completely un-credible, lol. I did a senior project on IBS (i have a BS in nutrition and dietetics) and there was a study showing that melatonin helped symptoms of IBS, and i also came across the fertility/melatonin link, but I dont remember where it was, im sorry!

Artie, mom to Riley 3/22/08 and a surprise due Oct 2011!
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:22 PM
 
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Ladies please don't give melatonin freely to your kids. It is a powerful hormone.

I had a severe reaction to ONE pill of melatonin. Yes, it made me drowsy, and I fell asleep, but it was not a restful sleep, I had nightmares, and felt severely depressed and disoriented and unsteady on my feet. This lasted for 3 days after taking the pill. I also, on the 2 nights after taking it, had terrible issues sleeping. This is not an uncommon reaction-- it really bothers me that melatonin is touted as harmless and safe.

Also, studies have shown that some melatonin capsules actually contain 4x the amount of melatonin the label says it should.

I would never give this to a toddler!

I would sooner give chamomile tincture or even a tablespoon of wine before this.
This was my friend's reaction. She said it also made her depressed. Really, she thinks it's the worst stuff ever.

I have a challenging 2 y/o sleeper too but I wouldn't give melatonin because I don't think he would be able to tell me if he felt depressed or spacey. I do understand feeling :: from lack of sleep, though.
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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when you start taking melatonin supplements, it inhibits natural production of melatonin,
This is what I've heard too. I don't use it for myself with my own insomnia because I don't want to perpetuate an already bad problem.
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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FWIW-i used to take melatonin a loooong time ago so maybe i'm not the best to answer since it may have improved since then but...while i think it can help adults with temporary sleeplessness, i personally wouldn't give it to kids or babies. i actually wouldn't even take it myself now i don't think. it's something about it being a hormone that freaks me out and i agree with pp, even though something is "natural" it can still be harmful.

it does cause extremely intense dreams, if not nightmares, which is not a trade off i'd accept for my dd. and it does completely knock. you. out.

we've been going through months of waking for 2-3 hours of playtime so i feel your pain and don't blame ya for looking for something, anything that would work!
one thing that has helped us A TON is Calms Forte. I swear by homeopathics and would also give herbs a try before going the melatonin route.
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Old 10-11-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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This was my friend's reaction. She said it also made her depressed. Really, she thinks it's the worst stuff ever.

I have a challenging 2 y/o sleeper too but I wouldn't give melatonin because I don't think he would be able to tell me if he felt depressed or spacey. I do understand feeling :: from lack of sleep, though.
Yes, I have heard/ read of other people having this reaction. I woke up suicidal the morning after taking melatonin! And while I'm a glass half empty kind of person, I am not depressed or suicidal. It took me 3 days to even begin to feel normal again.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. OK.
I'll look again at the Calme Forte but I do believe it has caramel = dairy.
And I couldgo on without sleep, but my kiddo can't she has an issue.
She compulsively prevents herself from sleeping, even as a newborn ~ when she begans to fall asleep, she fights it ~ scratching, hitting herself, giggling fits, pinching, full body spasms... and we can't hold her through it (or swaddle her) any more. So hopefully we can work this out but I don't like what I am hearing about the melatonin and appreciate the input, so much!
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