Melatonin…it works for us

By | January 30, 2012

D has been on Melatonin for nearly two years. We were offered it during one of our paediatric appointments when we discussed her sleep issues.

Prior to Melatonin, she wouldn’t settle until about 10pm at night and would then be up in the early hours, reliving her day. Bearing in mind she was in mainstream at the time and unstatemented, sleep was a rare commodity.

We always had and still do have a structured bedtime routine. Bath with me where we talk about her day, then story then settling down. I had previously tried CDs of stories or a baby classical music CD but neither worked and I didn’t want her to be a child who couldn’t sleep without something on in the background.

Melatonin is classed as an unlicensed medication in this country and GPs are not allowed to prescribe it. I have to order a prescription every 3 months and am allocated one 250ml bottle for her per month. I don’t know why, but I always feel guilty re-ordering, as if I’m failing her as a parent because she needs this (natural) medication to sleep.

The melatonin medication replicates the sleep hormone that is missing in many autistic children, it’s entirely natural and we haven’t encountered any side effects. It does have a warning on the bottle that it may make you drowsy!

We have tried not giving her melatonin to see what happens and it’s awful. No sleep til very late and then it’s not a deep sleep, the slightest noise wakes her and anxieties then come out.

It does slightly annoy me that everytime the prescription arrives, it comes with “helpful” papers from the pharmacy detailing the importance of a routine at bedtime. With an autistic child, routine is key!!

I have also seen a letter on my doctors screen saying that D has been on the melatonin for a while and maybe she should be weaned off it. I steered the conversation around to routines and how we had tried and failed without melatonin and no mention was made of it.

So, it works for us but obviously each child is different. The sleep hormone can also be found in milk taken from cows in the evening if that is a preference.

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13 Comments

Russ Lambert on 31st January 2012 at 10:29 am.

Hi nice blog, and really well written. I know exactly how you feel with the guilt when we re-order persciptions. We have one where Melatonin works and one where Melatonin is like giving her speed. Keep up the good work.

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wendy on 1st February 2012 at 11:43 am.

I don’t think you should feel guilty you are doing what is right for you and your family. Sometimes children with additional needs need a boost to help them sleep they have a different sleep pattern at times. Great post

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Latoya Jordan on 18th February 2012 at 8:23 pm.

We’ve been using Melatonin for a couple of years now. And Iv managed to lower the dose from when we started it. However we Truely couldn’t do without it. Like u he’s stays up mega late and up early. And he’s brain goes in journeys at times and he can’t cope with his thoughts. They can be quite dark at times. And he’s generally a very sick child, but without a proper nights sleep, it’s worse. And his emotions, OCDS and other problems magnify tenfold. So all round it’s an important tool in out life to get the very best out of him on a daily bases. But being quizzed every 6mths by the docs does irritate me but I just state that his peidatritan says its ok and that’s ok with me!!!

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Ragga on 27th March 2012 at 5:33 pm.

It makes me so hopeful to read this. Thanks so much for the tip about your post – obviously there is so much information out there that you just don’t find in all the chaos. Can’t wait to try it on my Viktor. Thanks!

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Ragga on 27th March 2012 at 5:37 pm.

Oh and I hope you don’t mind but I made a link to this post in a comment on my post for those interested to read more about Melatonin…

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AutismMumma on 28th March 2012 at 10:22 am.

Dont mind at all, happy to help xx

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Nickycdv on 29th April 2012 at 6:14 pm.

Don’t feel guilty Jeanette
as a SENCo I have seen the difference melatonin can make to a child with autism. I’m sure D has benefited greatly as have you and your partner. You’re a great mum!

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AutismMumma on 3rd May 2012 at 9:43 am.

Thank you for your comments 🙂 its really helpful to know your perceptions and views as a SENCO x

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Autism Dvd Social Skills » Helping A Child With Autsim | Helping A Child With Autsim on 29th May 2012 at 7:36 pm.

[…] is no way they know what they’re talking about on that forum. Leaving that aside, this is […]

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Ragga on 10th June 2012 at 2:39 pm.

Melatonin and I have recently become BFFs – love it! 🙂

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Ragga on 10th June 2012 at 2:40 pm.

Sorry but I forgot, finally, we got it for our Viktor (see here: http://familyandautism.com/2012/06/07/melatonin-is-my-new-best-friend/)

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holly on 29th June 2012 at 10:14 am.

I always feel guilty giving it to my daughter but she is happier in the daytime when she has had a good sleep we were lucky if she slept for an hour a night before she started the melatonin which didn’t help because we were always tired too so too tired to do all things we need to do with her on a daily basis. xx

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AutismMumma on 1st July 2012 at 6:15 pm.

Thanks for reading, I guess it was hard for me to come to terms with the fact that she needed the melatonin as her body couldn’t naturally produce it and it’s not something that I had or hadn’t done – routine etc

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