Many parents enjoy marveling at their sleeping children, noting how angelic their children look when deep in slumber. If your child’s irregular sleep pattern or troubles getting and staying asleep prevent you from your own sleep, your child could be suffering from a treatable sleep disorder. One solution commonly prescribed for children who struggle with sleep is melatonin. This option is often recommended by pediatricians.
If your child’s doctor mentions the use of melatonin, you are likely eager to explore specifically whether it’s right for your child. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body, reports MedlinePlus. This hormone can be synthesized and is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) sleep remedy for use in patients of all ages.
Assistance with Developmental Disorders
As MedlinePlus reports, melatonin is a popular recommendation for children who suffer from autism or mental retardation as many children who fall into these categories struggle with sleep. Melatonin can make it easier for these children to fall asleep. Most often, doctors prescribe it for children who suffer from one of these developmental disorders.
Benefits for ADHD Suffers
The hyperactivity that many ADHD children experience can make it difficult to fall asleep. Many pediatricians turn to melatonin to help them. Because melatonin is a synthesized version of a hormone already present in the human body, doctors often turn to it when prescribing a sleep aid for children who are already on a battery of other medications, such as ADHD children.
Help for the Visually Impaired
The human body produces melatonin itself to induce sleep when night falls. Visually impaired children who are unable to see the difference between night and day often fail to respond appropriately to the setting sun, leading to a mix-up in night and day cycles and an erratic sleep schedule, reports MedlinePlus. To help get these children’s bodies into the right pattern, doctors may prescribe synthesized melatonin.
Epilepsy Symptom Reduction
Melatonin is also often used as a bedtime seizure reducer for children who suffer from epilepsy, MedlinePlus reports. Some studies have found that administering melatonin at bedtime may reduce the number of epileptic seizures suffered at night; however, melatonin does not have the same impact on all epilepsy patients. In some patients, this drug is actually found to increase the frequency of seizures.
Point of Caution
Even though melatonin is available OTC, you shouldn’t start your child on melatonin therapy without a doctor’s guidance. Just as with all medications, melatonin can have side effects. Speak to your child’s pediatrician before trying melatonin out.