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


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Steph... Stephanie0309

@binbon, you say your 5-year-old would stay up all night playing, talking go the dog and chasing the cat? How about not letting him DO those things?

Phucket Phucket

Increasing ur natural hormone chemicals your body changes the number of receptors for said hormone. Ur body will depend on larger amounts of that hormone to activate cells. Once u discontinue use ur levels of natural production are actually less than they were before using the medication. So ur body won't be able to activate the cells with so little chemical. I would explain this more but on my phone. There are long term effects, it's much safer to teach good sleeping habits than to create them artificially. Being a parent is hard and u may work full time and don't want to be up all hours with ur kids but these childhood years are too few and it will eventually get better. Back in the day moms sucked it up and dealt with it without meds and through tough times and being consistent healthy children will learn naturally to sleep. Figure out a routine or special sounds and environment that help ur child. Don't take the easy and selfish way by drugging ur children.

EarlG... EarlGrayHot

I'd go with structured bedtime also, allowing children time to wind down after play or TV.  Reading to them or with them before bed is an excellent tactic.  SO is warm milk or hot chocolate.  Try those first.  And make sure there is no physiological reason a child can't sleep.

SueMN... SueMNanaMama

I get our melatonin from Source Naturals.  We use the liquid sublingual.  I'll stop it for a while, and then start it back up.  No one should take it nightly forever.  But I have a boy with autism who just can't fall asleep, and the Kidlet with too little sleep makes for a Kidlet with a bad school morning.  We had stopped the melatonin for about six months, but after I found him staying awake until midnight or 1 a.m on school nights, obsessing on some glowing box or other, I started it back up. He plays a hand-held video game for about 20 minutes, or quietly plays with a G.I. Joe or a car, and he's out.  He wakes up happier, which makes our mornings go way better, and he is doing better in school.  Yeah, I know, he shouldn't play with a "glowing box" before sleep, but he swears he can't unwind without it.  I pick my battles with him; he's 10 and very stubborn.  

nonmember avatar mel

A friend of mine started giving her autistic son melatonin when he was 5. Now he is 17, depending on it, taking more than 6mg each night. He still does not sleep all night, and his body needs more and more to fall asleep. So what part of this is not addictive and druglike?

meche... mecheraid

My 5 year old daughter has ADHD and there are many nights that she is able to tell us that her brain won't let her go to sleep. Well, as a mom who desperately needs sleep too, I called her doctor. The doctor suggested melatonin but said it would take up to 2 weeks to be in her system to allow her to sleep well. The doctor suggested moving the time she takes her ADHD medicine, suggested even giving her a small dose of benadryl to help while the melatonin kicks in. I won't do that, but the melatonin worked the first night we gave it to her. She even asks for her "sleeping" medicine. I trust that my daughter knows when her brain is still in high gear and will need some help falling asleep.

As for being addictive, well, I already know that my child is special and needs help with other things and if she needs help sleeping, I will do what I can to ensure she gets more than a few hours at a time.

Prync... Pryncess026

Do some real research people.  You can not become addicted to melatonin.  It is not a habit forming "drug" because it isn't a drug.  It's something your body natrually produces and if your body doesn't produce enough you don't sleep.  Just like a diabetic patient not producing enough insulin they need help.

Now ambien, lunesta, etc ARE drugs and ARE habit forming.  Those you do not give your children unless extensive tests have been ran showing true reasonings for giving them said drugs. 

nonmember avatar Janna

Melatonin is all natural and safe. I had starting giving my 11yr old it when he was 2. Now he is perfectly normal 11 yr old boy. He doesn't take it anymore!

Ginger Sadler

Only under dr advice...would I give my kids anything to help them sleep.

I personally take meletonion from time to time and for me atleast I wouldn't say there is no "hangover" effect, I usually wake groggy with a bit of a foggy headache. But it does help with my insomnia and the "hangover" goes away with a few cups of coffee.


nonmember avatar Heather

I was just reading online about the side effects of melatonin and saw that studies are suggesting that the normal everyday use of melatonin could cause a child's reproductive system to be under-developed. Is it really worth the risk to use this?? I don't think so. These studies also said that the melatonin widely available in the USA, while naturally manufactured, go through a chemical process to give it the fast impact that most Americans are looking for. I'll be stopping the use of this drug on my children immediately.

111-120 of 128 comments First 910111213 Last