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Eekee
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11 Nov 2009, 12:12 am

I have a 4 year old son, who has been diagnosed with SPD. I'm guessing that he's on the spectrum, since he behaves quite a bit like his 7 year old Aspie brother did at this age.

Anyway, Matthew has been having sleep issues. He has a very hard time falling asleep. He wiggles and fights and really goes beyond tossing and turning. Once he's out, he'll sleep all night, but lately he isn't falling asleep until after 10.

His OT came to visit us tonight and gave us tons of good ideas to try, which I think will be very helpful.

I also had a visit with my older son's developmental pediatrician, and she recommended melatonin to help Matthew fall asleep. I'm not ready to start yet, as I'd like to give our OT's ideas a good try first. And I'm not certain how I feel about medicating a four year old to sleep! It would be a last resort, I think.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with melatonin, either for yourself or your kids. I appreciate the input!


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sgrannel
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11 Nov 2009, 12:24 am

I tried it once because I just wanted to see what it would do. It was marketed as a supplement, so no harm in that. But it gave me a terrifying feeling that I can't really describe, and may have been a placebo effect. Wouldn't recommend it.


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Aspie1
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11 Nov 2009, 1:27 am

Eekee wrote:
I'm not certain how I feel about medicating a four year old to sleep! It would be a last resort, I think.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with melatonin, either for yourself or your kids. I appreciate the input!

I vote in favor. Since the early childhood to roughly age 14, I struggled with chronic insomnia. It would take me on average two hours to fall asleep. I tossed and turned, lying wide awake, bored out of my mind, struggling to relax. And again the following night. At age 4, I would have loved to be medicated to sleep. Unfortunately, my parents were strong believers in natural remedies, so a cup of herbal tea was the strongest thing they were willing to give me, which was no help. I'm wondering at this point if there would have been a placebo effect, if my parents gave me a vitamin and told me it was a "very powerful sleeping pill".

So yeah, I vote fully in favor of giving your son melatonin. He'll thank you the following morning.



Starr
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11 Nov 2009, 4:43 am

I tried it once (I've had sleep problems for years) and I felt very strange after taking it, like I was getting electrical shocks in my head - it does sound weird but that's the only way to describe it. I have heard very good reports of it from other people though so I guess try it and see is the only way. Maybe give your son half of one to start with if that's possible (so long as it's not a slow-release type of pill) to see how it affects him.
Good luck!



Logan5
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11 Nov 2009, 6:30 am

The two major side effects of melatonin are it makes the user dream a lot, and "rebound insomnia". The latter means the user can experience difficulty falling asleep the next night. In my experience, both of these side effects can be reduced by reducing the dose. (Unfortunately, that also reduces the melatonin's effectiveness at putting one to sleep.) The recommended dose often quoted is 3 to 6 milligrams (mg). I use 1 to 2 mg and I am an adult male of average height and weight. For a young child you would want a much smaller dose (at least to start with).

Two other things to consider trying are the amino acids Tryptophan < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan > and 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-htp >. (I strongly encourage you to read those wikipedia entries before trying them.)

Finally, a couple of other informative web-sites:
"To Sleep: Perchance To Take Lots of Pills. Testing over-the-counter sleep aids, herbal and non."
http://www.slate.com/id/2062791/

"BBC: Science & Nature - How to sleep better"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/sleep/


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saywhatyamean
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11 Nov 2009, 8:26 am

G'day,

I use Melatonin with both my boys ages 6 and 11. The youngest has very restless sleep and it helps him with that. He is currently on 3mg My oldest has trouble going off to sleep,restlesness and sleepwalking it also helps him, he has 5mg. I have never had any problems with it what so ever. I also have a good friend that I recommended to, that uses it with her 2 NT boys 4 and 11, who have not slept properly since birth. She almost kissed my feet after their first night of uninterupted sleep.

My biomed Dr prescribed it for my boys (you need a script for it in Aus but can buy it over the counter in the US which I assume is where you live). It is used allot in Biomed circles with children with ASD. I get mine compunded which takes out all the nasty additives sometimes found in over the counter suppliments ( which can often cause the reactions some people have explained here.

Melatonin is something the body should make it's self. When it goes wrong it is usually because of some sort of bacterial imballance in the gut where it is made. So if your child has any gut issues at all they may also become sleepless with it.

You can have the Melatonin compounded to be slow release, if your child has the habit of waking frequently. You can also use P5P for the same effect.

Remember mother, you need and deserve your sleep.

Goodluck



Aspie1
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11 Nov 2009, 10:55 am

Logan5 wrote:
Two other things to consider trying are the amino acids Tryptophan < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryptophan > and 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-htp >. (I strongly encourage you to read those wikipedia entries before trying them.)

I'm familiar with both of these. Tryptophan is something contained in turkey meat; I know because I feel sleepy at every Thanksgiving. But I don't know if 5-HTP is a sleep aid. Last time I was buying at a pharmacy, the pharmacist told me it was an antidepressant. It made me feel a little bit better, but the improvement in mood was pretty small. It also suppresses your appetite by tricking the pleasure centers in your brain.



MsBehaviour
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11 Nov 2009, 3:26 pm

I have been using Melatonin for when my sleep cycle is disturbed for over ten years. It's magic, works every time and also helps my aspie husband.


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david_42
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11 Nov 2009, 4:12 pm

I've used it off and on for years, typically 3 mg. Recently, I've run across research about using it to reset your circadian rhythm. This was an outgrowth of efforts to help people that have lost their eyes. Apparently they have a extremely difficult time adjusting to timezone changes. Anyway, they used 5-10 mg a night and found 7 mg works best. I've bee using 6 mg a night for the last week and have had far fewer problems falling asleep during the day. I think I'll keep up for another week, then taper off and see what happens.



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11 Nov 2009, 4:50 pm

I and my sons have been using it since Spring. We do not use it every night, but only as needed during periods of insomnia. It has worked wonderfully for all of us! I hate sleeping pills, and that drugged, slow motion feeling the next day. Melatonin didn't do that at all. I found that we all needed less than the recommended dose to get the desired effect (1.5mg). I took 3mg the first time I took it and felt uncomfortably sleepy (that horrible deadened feeling where you couldn't wake up even if you needed to), and had really vivid nightmares, but with a half dose I just feel really nice and drowsy and can fall asleep easily and sleep more soundly.



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11 Nov 2009, 9:22 pm

Eekee wrote:
I have a 4 year old son, who has been diagnosed with SPD. I'm guessing that he's on the spectrum, since he behaves quite a bit like his 7 year old Aspie brother did at this age.

Anyway, Matthew has been having sleep issues. He has a very hard time falling asleep. He wiggles and fights and really goes beyond tossing and turning. Once he's out, he'll sleep all night, but lately he isn't falling asleep until after 10.

His OT came to visit us tonight and gave us tons of good ideas to try, which I think will be very helpful.

I also had a visit with my older son's developmental pediatrician, and she recommended melatonin to help Matthew fall asleep. I'm not ready to start yet, as I'd like to give our OT's ideas a good try first. And I'm not certain how I feel about medicating a four year old to sleep! It would be a last resort, I think.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with melatonin, either for yourself or your kids. I appreciate the input!


My 11 year old aspie takes it every night. It's something your body produces anyway, but some people just don't produce enough. Before we discovered melatonin, every night was very stressful, because he would get all manic and silly instead of falling asleep. He'd go into wild giggle fits, and start yelling, "buttcrack!!" over and over, and that kind of thing. It's like, instead of his brain kicking into sleep mode, it would go into mega-wild and crazy mode. I didn't know about AS or anything like that, so I'd just yell at him and take away privileges, which would inevitably make it worse, because he wasn't able to control it. Melatonin has been a godsend.

His NT brother also has trouble sleeping, but he doesn't keep the whole family awake and all stressed out like the aspie does/did. He's just tired the next day. He does not take melatonin, because the only chewable ones I have seen are peppermint, which he won't eat. I was just asking the pediatrician about melatonin supplements yesterday, and she said it's safe.

I've never taken it myself, but my husband has. He says for him it sometimes works, but sometimes it just makes him feel drowsy and dizzy, but he still can't sleep.



Kodos
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16 Nov 2009, 6:27 pm

We've been giving melatonin to my 6 yr old, AS daughter for six months. She was taking two hours to go to sleep every night. The first time we gave it to her, she started rubbing her eyes within minutes! I couldn't believe it. I'm not really into supplements so I was skeptical that it would work. She has not had trouble sleeping ever since. I've taken it myself (NT) to see if it works, I think it does make me a little sleepier. I might also have more interesting dreams. We gave it to my NT son on occasion because he seems to get hyperactive at bedtime. It worked for him too, but he would wake up in the middle of the night. . . we think due to nightmares. My wife is a nurse practitioner and does not want to unnecessarily medicate our daughter. But as mentioned above, it is a natural substance that the body already makes. She researched and found it to be completely safe and backed with scientific evidence for its effectiveness.



david_42
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16 Nov 2009, 7:16 pm

I think the safety of melatonin is demonstrated by, in this world of child-proof everything, it is sold in bottles containing 100s of doses with screw-on caps. Even my magnesium tablets have a safety cap.

Just as a follow up: after another week on 6 mg a night, I am sleeping well enough that I no longer get drowsy and need a nap in the afternoon.



Azharia
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17 Nov 2009, 7:56 am

I used it successfully, as did my cousin, who can now sleep as long as the bottle is on his nightstand, without taking it. (He was maybe 7 when he started it?)
You should get dossages advised by an expert though.



DianaMarie
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30 Nov 2009, 11:25 pm

My daughter has been taken it for almost a year now and it has helped her get to sleep. she has never complained of dreams or feeling sleepy in the morning. She was diagnosed with AS a year ago and melatonin was recommended by her physician. I have never tried it myself simply because once my head hits the pillow I fall asleep. The best thing to do is to try it and see if it helps your child.