Melatonin and ASD

Monica - posted on 04/13/2010 ( 45 moms have responded )

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Is it common in aspergers autism or adhd children to have a lack of melatonin in their system. I recently put my daughter on this (the minimum 3mg tab) and she has been sleeping way better at night. It is like her body didn't produce enough to be tired enough to go to sleep.

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Liz - posted on 04/17/2010

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hi monica
my son is 6 & has been on melatonin since he was 5 yrs.
as you already know-melatonin is the natural sleep hormone produced in the frontal lobe of the brain-which we all have,but people with brain conditions-such as adhd, asd, autism, epilepsy-do not produce enough or any melatonin.
melatonin is the chemical form can be in capsules or tablets & also in immediate release form (get them to sleep) or modified release form (to keep them asleep) .
sometimes children need a mixture of both or one or the other & also over time it is proven that children become immune to it & breaks in meds need to be taken to ensure that it continues to work.
also many peads put children with brain conditions on melatonin to ''trick'' the body into a pattern of sleep-with the view that hopefully the childs body & brain will actually learn the pattern of sleep without the need for melatonin-but for many this does not happen.
my son being one of them-he has been on melatonin for over a yr now & he was getting immune to it & he was on a high dose of 8mg (12mg being the combined highest dose allowed in uk as it is proven anymore than that doesnt not work anyway!) my son had a mixture of both forms.
however we have just had a week break & thankfully when he went back on it-we only gave him half his usual dose-4mg :) and he was asleep within the hour! magic!
please be aware that melatonin is an 'off license' drug in the uk for children as it is a controlled drug-it can only be presecribed by peadiatrtion or consultant-not just any gp-plus extra forms have to be filled in.and they have to be locked away in your house. thats the rules in the uk anyway.
please feel free to msg me with any other question-i would be glad to help :)
liz, mum to lewis age 6yrs-adhd, sleep & ensory dysfunction & complex autistic specail needs

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Sue - posted on 03/29/2011

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You can buy it anywhere like grocery stores,pharmacy and no perscription needed.

Sue - posted on 04/24/2010

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you can pick up meletonin almost anywhere ie. grocery stores,pharmacies, gnc. It doesNOT require a perscription! it comes in 1mg,3mg,5mg, and 10mg!

Sue - posted on 04/24/2010

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yes my daughter takes 9 mg of meletonin per dr's telling us the amt! it helps but she still has to take a script to sleep too!

DeAnna - posted on 04/23/2010

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I put my son on the 3 mg also but as it builds up in his system it stopped working, so we are trying it every other night now. So far so good!

Cheryl - posted on 04/23/2010

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Thank you all! This was wonderfully informative. My three year old might have aspergers and he never sleeps. Just last night he was up at 2 and didn't go back to sleep until 7 this morning. I was told that my SID was part of the reason for my chronic insomnia and told to take melatonin because, as someone else pointed out, you can't overdose on it. I will make an appointment with my pediatrician immediately and ask him if this is ok for my son.

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Hiya, my son has melatonin to sleep 6mg, i find its just the thing he needs to get some sleep. I find he is not as ratty in mornings as he would be with having no sleep, which has helped him at school. I only give it him sunday to thursday though for the sole purpose of being a little better at school.

Beverley - posted on 04/22/2010

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My 11 year old Autistic son use to take up to 4 hours sometimes to go to sleep. We started him on Melatonin , he falls asleep very easily still wakes up through the night but we don't mind that.

Jeanette - posted on 04/21/2010

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My son's counselor had told me about it (oddly enough, his psychiatrist had not heard of it). He was on it for two years and it really helped him go to sleep (before that, he had had insomnia and was using benedryl to fall asleep, but it didn't work as well as melatonin). At some point he developed the shakes and we took him off melatonin, and the symptoms stopped. By then, he didn't seem to need melatonin either, he sleeps well now. I think the melatonin did help, but maybe he just outgrew the need for it.

Donna - posted on 04/21/2010

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For Sleeping trouble. My daughters dr. gave us a list, over the counter, just ask drugist and they will show you where to find it.
Melatonin to try first for a month
Valerian Root if the first didn't work.(not sure of spelling)
Chamomile next.
Passion Flower.
If none worked for the sleep issue he said come back and we would try something else.(Likely perscription stuff)

Lisa - posted on 04/20/2010

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This is fantastic news. My 17 year old Aspergers son has the strangest sleep pattern if it can even be called a pattern... and he is sleep deprived most of the time, which makes him cranky or worse. I am going to try the melatonin and see if it helps him. THANKS EVERYONE

Hedi - posted on 04/20/2010

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You may get it at any drugstore. You also might want to give it a bit earlier as it needs time to really work.

Marissa - posted on 04/20/2010

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I was told it is common. My son was able to fall asleep on the melatonin but not maintain sleep. We had to use clonidine to maintain sleep. He usually is up for HOURS and wasn't napping or sleeping at night. He's 2.5 and we're finally getting our nights back :)

Marie - posted on 04/19/2010

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I am unsure if children with an ASD make less melatonin or not. I do know that my son whom is 10 and has PDD has been on trazadone and clonidine and neither worked. The doctor started him on the melatonin about 2 weeks ago and his sleep patterns have improved greatly.

Monica - posted on 04/19/2010

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Just to catch you all up, I have been using the melatonin since I posted and it has worked wonders. I don't have to go up to find her into who knows what in the middle of the night. What a lifesaver. I can't understand why more doctors don't tell you about this. It is natural, so how could it hurt to at least try it. Anyway, really inexpensive (around $10 for 100 tablets) and is found in the vitamin isle in the US. Anyway, I really appreciate your posts and hope some of you other parents who asked about it also find some relief because I can't tell how much of a weight has lifted.

Jacquie - posted on 04/19/2010

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I have always wondered if there was a correlation between the two- I don't know how we survived before a friend of my biological mother tuned us into Melatonin when Abby was almost six- before that she NEVER slept- and often would try to escape the house in the middle of the night. I had resorted to sleeping on the couch by the front door. I did however notice that her body would become accustomed to it and it would not work as efficiently so now we use a Sun-Thurs on and Fri-Sat off regiment so that it continues to work- and she is now seven-and-a-half!

Joanne - posted on 04/19/2010

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my son is 3 once hes asleep hes ok but to actually get tired it takes forever i would describe him as crash and burn hes just keeps going till hes shatterd is this the same as whats been happening with you x

Tanya - posted on 04/19/2010

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YES !!!! I have 2 boys with ASD (aspergers) and it makes a lot of difference ! We do the 3 mg tablet each night. We saw countles doctors , but a Sleep specialist at Vanderbilt childrens hospital who specials in ASD children recommended it to us !

Jan - posted on 04/19/2010

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Could be. My daughter has been taking it since she was 3. She is 18 now but doesn't need it every night like she did when she was little.

Sinead - posted on 04/19/2010

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My son is the same he is 9 years old and the doctor started him on melatonin hes on 4mg per night although hes going to sleep quick at night time hes still up from 4 and 5 every morning

Carol - posted on 04/19/2010

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We have been using Melatonin for a few years on the recommendation of the doctor. It is very inexpensive and very effective. My 10 yr. old, with ASD, tries to go to sleep without it but if he can't get to sleep within about 30 minutes he gets up and says he needs his "sleeping pill" and within a short time he is sound asleep. My 17 yr. old, without ASD, also takes it on nights she has trouble falling asleep.

Rebecca - posted on 04/18/2010

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Thanks for the info! My daughter has horrible insomnia problems. We'll have to give this a try.

Jennie - posted on 04/18/2010

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We have used Melatonin for several years and one tip I can offer is that the liquid form is much more effective. We had to keep moving up with the tablet form, eventually getting up to 10 mg before we'd have to take them off and start over. Now I only have to give them 1 mg of liquid melatonin and we are doing fairly well. I should say though that it's not the perfect sleeping medication for all my children (three have Aspergers). Two still take other medications that help for sleep, but the melatonin with those is what has worked the best. We do deal with huge anxiety issues so that may be our difference.

Susan - posted on 04/18/2010

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My child gets 3 mg on school nights only, It is natural for teens to want to be up later and sleep in, so limiting it to school night helps her get the rest for school, but then allows her to stay up longer on days off. she is 14 and has AS/ADHD

Ebtesam - posted on 04/18/2010

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My daughter is ten years old with Autism, I give her 10 mg Melatonin ( over the counter drug ) at bed time, to be effected the child should stay in a dark area after gitting Mealtonin.

Lori - posted on 04/18/2010

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my son takes 6mgs before bed...but he is still up at the crack of dawn,,,not sure if its a lack of melatonin in their body or not. good question..

Jackie - posted on 04/18/2010

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I love melatonin. I've had sveral people suggest using benadryl to get him to sleep. I have a big problem drugging my kid so I started using melatonin. It's naturally occuring in the body so it wont hurt him. I sometimes give him half a tablet in his sippie throught the day. My son has Aspergers and this helps to calm him down. He gets to running 90 to nothing and then he gets really frustrated. It doesn't put him to sleep with half a dose it just calms him down so he can cope with whats going on around him. I give him one (3mg) at night and thats how he gets to sleep. Some nights he sleeps okay but if I dont give it to him he usually doesnt get to sleep till well after midnight. This is very stressfull for me since I get up at 4:30 every morning for work and my boyfriend runs two restaurants. This stuff is a God send.

Tammie - posted on 04/18/2010

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I found out about it through a friend of my sister-in-law in Alaska. I started my son at age 4 because we could sleep. He still takes it and other meds that have been prescribed. it works really well for him when he is agitated, he will go get it and ask for it himself.

Tina - posted on 04/18/2010

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Thank you to everyone. I have a nineteen year old with Asperger's and a 15 year old with ADHD I really don't know what sleep is. My nineteen year old is up most nights at weird hours.I am going to try melatonin and see if it helps. I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to post!

Nett - posted on 04/18/2010

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I too have given my 8 yr old son w asperger's 3mg at night. It definitely was the answer to our falling asleep issues. On nights that he does not take it , it takes him couple of hours to fall asleep. I have researched, as well as monitored any changes in him and have not found any negatives to report .

Angela - posted on 04/18/2010

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We has the same thing happen with our 10 year son. We just give him 1/2 of the 1 mg. tablet and he sleeps like a baby. Amazing. Before he would be awake until 10 or 10:30 at night. Tough to get him up at 6:30 on school mornings. The melatonin really helps him relax and sleep soundly. Makes our mornings much easier too. =)

Mary Ellen - posted on 04/17/2010

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Well, after some research and asking our son's psychiatrist about it, we decided it "can't hurt, might help". I tried it and it really seemed to help! I then tried it for myself (ADD not Aspie) and it seems to help me as well. I read several places that the issue with too much is more one of "too much doesn't work as well as a smaller dose". So we chop the 3 mg tabs we get at Costco in half with a pill splitter. Hope it helps you!

Stephany - posted on 04/17/2010

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I have read several studies that have shown that a lot of children on the spectrum actually have conditions that inhibit their bodies from producing melatonin. There is also proof of a distorted circadian (?) cycle in children with ASD.
We used to spend upwards of 3-4 hours each night trying to get my son to go to sleep. One night I woke up to use the restroom. It was 3 am and I thought I heard someone trying to break into our house. I grabbed one of the kids' toys and walked around the corner to see my son unlocking the door and trying to get out of the house. I nearly had a heart attack! Imagine how bad it would have been had I not needed to use the restroom! That's when I realized we needed to put him on melatonin. We found peppermint flavored melatonin chewables at the local grocery store (in 500 mcg doses). He is 4 years old and weighs 57 pounds (he's 50 inches tall!), so he takes a total of 2.5 mg each night. We haven't had a problem since!

Carolyne - posted on 04/17/2010

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apparently yes, there is a facebook help group if you would like a link send me a message, there are loads of parents on there who have stated what a great help melatonin has been.

Mimi - posted on 04/17/2010

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Well in the US I got mind in the health food store. It was very cheap. I got the orange flavored one, they taste great and melt in the mouth. But please lock it up if you have small children because it does taste good and is a drug!

Mimi - posted on 04/17/2010

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My daughter is 18. Did not show ASD traits till she was older. Started to have sleep issues in mid teen years. I just heard of the melatonin and it is working well on her too! I also use it myself when I can't sleep.

Melanie - posted on 04/16/2010

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We gave our son melatonin to help with sleep also. Most nights my husband and i were sleeping in shifts because our son was up all night in pain. The melatonin helps him sleep through some of the pain, he still wakes up but isn't losing as much sleep as he used to x

Vicky - posted on 04/14/2010

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I started using melatonin when my daughter was 6 yrs old! It helps her sleep very well. She takes 2 now. It is rare for a child to be lacking in mel BUT when they insist upon sleepin with a light on (ie scared of the dar etc) the body can not produce the musch needed mel...this is true for adults as well and as we age our bodies need more help with this as well. My whole family takes it and sleeps well, wakes without groggs and well, its great! It is important to have darkness for sleep though...we NEED that.

Amy - posted on 04/14/2010

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I give my son melatonin because his doctor suggested it. It has really helped. These kids are runnin 90 to nothin all day and this helps him to actually sleep. I give him 2 he is 9 and 80lbs. The doctor said you cannot overdose on melatonin. I have also noticed him having a better attitude the next day because he actually gets some sleep and is not exhausted. I have not heard of your body not producing enough of it but that could be.

Feleena - posted on 04/13/2010

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I USED TO GIVE MY STEP-SON MELATONIN AT NITE.BUT IT TOOK HIM A LONG TIME TO FALL ASLEEP.HE DIDNT STAY ASLEEP THROUGH THE NITE.

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