Sleep Aids for Kids Are This Mom's Dream Come True

Say What!? 128

kid asleepHave you ever found yourself exhausted because your little one kept waking up during the night or took forever to fall asleep? Or have you seen firsthand what lack of sleep looks like on a 4-year-old who can’t fall asleep before she passes out from sheer exhaustion at 11 p.m. only to wake up three more times before her official wake time at 7 a.m.? Have you ever been the parent driving around all over town at all hours of the night to get your toddler to sleep?

You're not alone. There are many parents who have been operating on limited sleep since their little ones were born, myself included. While I have insomnia, after a few days with no sleep for me or my kids, it’s almost too much to bear. What to do when you're going on eight years of little to no sleep? Collapse of exhaustion? Run off with the circus? Start eyeballing the Benadryl? Put a little whiskey on the binky? Maybe a little melatonin in the Sippy cup at bedtime?

I'm joking.

I'd never consider Benadryl -- though I have heard other moms “joke” about it. It's a drug, and as a general rule, I try to steer clear of drugging my children. I’m sure you do too.

I've also balked at the whiskey on the binky suggestion, given to me by a random old woman I met in the pediatrician's office waiting room. Again, I try not to drug my children if at all possible.

But I do give my kids melatonin to help them sleep.

Melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep and it occurs naturally in our own bodies. It sounds pretty harmless and some pediatricians do give it the thumbs-up (others don't). So after careful consideration -- my kids need sleep and so do I -- I started giving it to them.

I've even started taking it myself.

After almost eight years of not having a full night of uninterrupted sleep, I was desperate. And melatonin works! Unlike when I’ve taken other prescription sleep aids, there is no "hangover" the next day. It seems almost too good to be true. And the truth is, all that being said, I don’t like to take risks with my children’s health. I'm wondering if my sleep-deprivation is making me rationalize this whole thing. What do you think?

Is melatonin a safe, natural miracle for parents who need sleep, or is it merely another way to drug a child?

Image via The TRUTH about Motherhood


bedtime, child care, confessions, toddler health, toddler sleep


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craft... craftycatVT

My daughter's pediatrician suggested it years ago to help get my daughter on a better sleep schedule for preschool. Now I just use it when she's sick and can't sleep.

nonmember avatar Elizabeth

I think it is normal to use this when the kids are just too wound up at bed time to go to sleep. A friend suggested that I use melatonin for my kids because even with an evening routine to wind them down, they just wouldn't go to sleep. So on those nights when we do see that they are just still too wound up to go to bed we give them some melatonin and they are both calm and getting sleepy within 15 - 30 minutes. I also take it some nights and I love it. You don't wake up groggy the next morning.

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I am strongly against this. Yes it's a naturally occurring hormone, but until tests prove inadequate levels in your child you should not be adding more out of convenience. I used to use 'sleep aids' quite a bit. What a blessing. Until I managed to stay awake through them once. A full night of pure hell. I felt psychotic!!! It was torture. I have never touched it since. It's worth the time to set a good routine, learn the comforts that go a long way- comfy socks, the right weight blanket for you, I use a heated blanket under my sheets.... Get all the puzzle pieces figured out and you probably wouldn't need the sleep aid.

Sophie Madeleine

YIKES. Grown ups become dependent on melatonin. I think I will stick to a structured bedtime routine, a healthy diet and a good hour of quiet time before bed.

Angie Reeves

i have been giving my kids melatonin for a few years now, especially my 9 year old with ADHD my 8 year old no longer takes it but it works very well and if u buy the natural kind it is actually helping to restore their own melatonin levels, i recommend it for moms with no sleep also

NoR_C... NoR_CaL_MoMmY

I feel like I haven't slept since first getting pregnant 7.5 years ago. Three kids later I am so sleep deprived. My youngest is 1.5 and just doesn't sleep well at all. I'm sure it's because we still co-sleep and nurse but I'm not ready to give those up yet. But it seems like if the baby is *actually* sleeping then one of my other kids wake up that night needing something. It my husband is snoring. Or I just have insomnia and lay there awake for hours. It never fails. Thank god i function so well on no sleep...However tired I am though I don't think enough research had been done to try melatonin. If it was totally safe why would some doctors be opposed? I dunno. Even Tylenol and ibuprofen make me nervous and I rarely take them. I'm paranoid though.

loves... lovesouldoula

My homeopath, who I trust very much, said absolutely no when I asked him about this. I am desperate for sleep and I think my baby is also, he'll be 3 in april and has pretty much never slept thru the night. He doesn't have any trouble falling asleep, its the whole staying asleep part that is the problem. We have a good routine down and live a very active life with healthy eating habits , I dont know what it is...

BeSwe... BeSweet707

After 5 years of having my special needs son up almost the whole night, melatonin changed our lives. He sleeps all night now  And mommy sleeps too :) theres nothing better than a full nights sleep tattoo

nonmember avatar Michelle

What exactly is your definition of a "drug"??? Just because it's a hormone makes it OK? While to each his own, perhaps try and figure out WHY your children aren't sleeping well. Too much TV, iPad before bed? Certain foods/bad diets? If your life is so out of control that BOTH of you aren't sleeping, you may want to reasses your priorities. Children can pick up when their parents are stressed and there is no structure in their young lives....they may be little but they aren't stupid. Yes, my 4-year old has had her share of sleepless nights...but once in awhile, NOT every single night and usually for a reason (illness, etc).

nonmember avatar Rebecca Michi

The melatonin you are taking is not produced naturally, it's made synthetically.
Have you talked to your doctor about this? You really want to rule out any medical reasons for this insomnia.
Melatonin isn't an easy quick fix.

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