Melatonin Use in Children?

Updated on February 26, 2007
S.D. asks from Roswell, GA
5 answers

I have a 9 year old boy with ADHD who has chronic problems getting to sleep. We have a bedtime routine, I give him warm milk and a story, he sleeps with a lamp on and the radio playing. He also takes Strattera at 7:30 every night, but that still doesn't make him sleepy. He goes to bed at 8:30, but is usually not asleep unitl 10:00 at the earliest. This makes morningtime not very fun.

I asked his psychiatrist if it's ok to give him melatonin, which is what I take. He said it would be ok to giv ehim the same 3 mg dose that I take, and that if it works for me it is likely to work for him too. I gave it to him and it worked like a charm, but I noticed on the label it says not to give it to kids under age 12, and another bottle said not to take it if you are under age 16. I'm reading on the internet about trials with children, and none so far have shown any adverse effects for children. It seems to me that before I do this, I would want to have a doctor or sleep specialist test his melatonin levels to be sure.

Has anyone used melatonin on their kids? Do you think it's safe?

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answers from Albany on

I am a special education teacher and I have 7 ADHD children in my classes at all times during the day. The students are in an "inclusion" setting where they are in a regular education classroom with other regular education students and also other Special Education children, including 1 child with Autism who has frequent outbursts and rocking. Needless to say, keeping the ADHD children on task was quite difficult. I went to a seminar about ADHD children and they discussed the Melatonin debate. There were many proponants for the melatonin dosage and many who disagreed with it. One thing I did hear ALL of them say is that it is VERY important for Doctors to screen current melatonin levels before starting any child on meltaonin. There are many problems that can arise if the child's levels are too high. Ask your doctor to screen your son and if he doesn't agree, go to someone who will. On another note, several of the mothers of my ADHD children swear by the "wombs sound and vibrate bear" to help their children go to sleep. It has a constant heartbeat sound and it has a low vibration that stimulates an ADHD child enough to aid that sensory overload that they need. Turn off the radio, dim the light to a nightlight and try it. It would be much easier than the meltanonin thing. Good luck!
A. A.



answers from Atlanta on

HI! I don't have any experience in Melatnon for children but I do know that there has been concern that long-term use in adults may contribute to depression-like symptoms. I stopped using Melatnon for that reason and I switched to Valerian Root. I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S SAFE FOR KIDS but I wanted to throw that out there to you for your info. Check it out...I've NEVER had a side-effect and it's helped my back muscle spasms. It's a natural muscle relaxant so it may not work for your son even if it's safe.

Good luck; I can tell your kids are lucky to have you. Oh, about your daughter, that's got to be tough...I have a perfectionist myself (she learned it from me) and I am learning to accept that as I grow and change, I am a good example to my kids (I'm a single mom of two myself.)




answers from Atlanta on

I use it with my 7 year old and my doc said it was ok too. I am very greatful for it as I didnt get any sleep for 6 years until my son started taking it. It has helped with behavior also because now he's actually rested. My son is ADHD / Bipolar
I give it to him at 6 and now he goes to bed at 8 awsome.....



answers from Savannah on

i have with my soon and it has worked good. but before my psychiatrist put him on it she did a sllep test and also blood work. now he has been on it for about two years and so far so good we still have our nights. he is adhd and odd.I dont know how much you know about adhd but i get alot of info from a yahoo suport group for kids and adults with adhd



answers from Atlanta on

I went to since I've never heard of it and this is what they say:

* The appropriate dose can vary enormously from person to person. For example, we offer tablets of 1.5 mg and 3.0 mg. Start off with a 1.5 mg tablet each night before bed-time, and work your way to larger doses if needed. (I would think with your child being smaller he would need the lower dose)

* On the list of who should avoid it: healthy children (who already produce it in abundance)

* Some side effects (only 10% reported these): such as nightmares, headaches, morning groginess, mild depression, and low sex drive

* On is it safe: Melatonin is one of the least toxic substances known.

I would try the lower dose and see if he still responds. Even though they say it's safe, I would think that if your body produces it normally it may start producing less if an artifical source is providing it. Possibly causing other problems in the future.

Another idea. ADHD medications are a form of speed. I have talked to girls that are friends with my 15 yr old daughter that take these meds and they are miserable. Unable to sleep at night and very tired all day. My daughter has come to me worried about them not ever being hungry at lunch too. Maybe you could talk with his doctor about slowly lowering the dose to the minimum neccessary.

Good Luck!

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