For some children, despite their parents’ best efforts, sleep doesn’t come easily. If your child’s attempt to fall into a restful slumber results in a struggle each night, he may suffer from a sleep disorder. While the FDA does not recommend any sleeping medications for children, some doctors opt to use sleep-aid medicine in an “off-label” fashion. When a doctor uses a drug “off-label,” he is using the drug in a way that it wasn’t originally intended. These “off-label” sleep aids likely pose little risk to your child and, with a doctor’s guidance, may prove to be the answer to his struggles.
Melatonin is an effective and safe treatment for childhood sleep issues. Melatonin is a chemical that is already present in the human body and brings on sleepy sensations. As the University of Michigan reports, this over-the-counter medication can aid children who can’t catch the Zzzs that they require by providing them with a burst of this chemical. Although you can get this medication without a prescription, it is wise to consult your child’s doctor before you begin a melatonin regimen to ensure it has no adverse effects.
Antihistamines are the most commonly prescribed treatments for childhood sleep issues, reports WebMD. In 33 percent of sleep-related pediatrician visits, doctors prescribe these drowsiness inducing medicines to their young patients. By prescribing antihistamines instead of a stronger sleeping remedy, doctors can avoid some of the dangers associated with these more concentrated drugs. In addition, because some sleeping issues are brought on by difficulty breathing in the night, antihistamines can serve double duty.
Blood Pressure Drugs
In 26 percent of the child sleep trouble cases doctors see, they prescribe their patients blood pressure drugs, reports WebMD. Prescribing blood pressure drugs as a sleep remedy is particularly popular when the sufferer has ADHD, as high blood pressure is often rampant in these children, which can lead to sleep-related issues.
While rarely prescribed, benzodiaephines can be administered to children. You should only use medications in this family for children when under close doctor supervision as they are quite strong. This type of medication is prescribed to 15 percent of all childhood sleep-issue sufferers, reports WebMD.