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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Momto... MomtoDavid

my 6 year old has autism and I've thought abut meletonin for him and even me since i sometimes have trouble falling asleep. But right now, bribes and rewards work for him. If he doesn't wake the house up with his screaming and silly noises in the middle of the night and if he stays in bed and is quiet till either my alarm goes off or the sun is up, then he most likely gets game time before bed. He has trouble staying asleep at night and i guess he feels if he is up everyone should be up. I value my sleep and even my 2 year old is a good sleeper. So bribes and rewards it is lol. But if those ever stop working  i will totally use meletonin. His behavior and his anxiety is better on a good nights sleep.

Dani Lotz Miller

I don't use melatonin, but I am also paranoid of a lot of medicines that parents typically give their children. I think kids need to learn to sleep and from about 6 months on I have let them learn. It's not easy and left me with a lot of sleepless nights but my kids know they have to stay in their beds until it's light outside. The only reason they are allowed out of bed is to go potty. Even my 1 year old now puts himself back to sleep on those bad nights where he has a hard time going to sleep. They know that even if they aren't sleeping, if it is time to be in bed, they need to stay there. On occasion, I have to sit in their room until they fall asleep, sometimes I read them a few extra stories with a flashlight in the corner so they cant see the pictures but they do eventually sleep. Hormones therapy is for people who have to many or too few hormones. Messing with that balance will only hurt your kids in the long run.

nonmember avatar Rose

I tried the night routines and everything and then began using melatonin on the advice of my pediatrician who in 12 yrs has never steered me has beenn a life changing suggestion and I recommend it for desparate parents!

nonmember avatar Trisha

There are always going to be people that agree and disagree no matter what the subject is, especially when it comes to kids. My 6 year old suffered from horrible nightmares, sleep walking and would walk around in a daze because of lack of sleep, then her doctor, and a therapist both agreed on melatonin, now she has been on it for 2 years. She has done absolutely great on it, she sleeps very well, she is not groggy in the morning. Some studies show that melatonin has benefits when used with children. While some are going to disagree no matter what, its not healthy to have a overly sleep deprived child who can not function normally. I think it is the question of whether the child needs it, or whether the adult wants the child to "need" it. There is a big difference.

aryan... aryanasunshine

My daughter takes it a few nights a week, her doctor put her on it about 6 months ago as she would only get around 4 hours of sleep a night (she just turned 5) She has had no problems with it what so ever. It has been the only thing to help her as she has ADHD and no matter what we did for a bedtime routine, she just could not/would not sleep. It has been a life saver for her.

To "Ashley"  You need to find a better doctor. First of all, doctors CAN test melatonin levels- through blood, urine and saliva. Second, it is NOT going to kill you by taking too much, let alone 4 mg of it in an hour. There are studies out there where doctors give Cancer and AIDS paitents between 80-100 MG of it a night and they have had a better quality of life. While you may not agree with what your ex did, he was not putting her life in danger by simply giving her melatonin- DHS involvement most likely means there was more going on than just melatonin. 

Mindy Gilmore

I started giving Melatonin to my 5 year old little girl about 3 months ago because she was so frightened by nightmares she wouldn't go to sleep. She fought us all the way, and starting Kindergarten I knew she needed a good nights rest to learn properly and not disrupt others in her class. It has worked wonders!! No hangover, no side effects, she takes her dose arround 7:30 or 8:00 and is asleep by 8:30. Our pediatrician reccommended it as an alternative to other sleep aids because it is a naturally occuring hormone. We are also seeing a counselor to help with the nightmares so it isn't a substitution for good parenting. We are doing everything we can to help our daughter grow and succeed.

Kira Wadkins

i have a 2 year old and she still doesn't sleep thru the night. I looked up this melatonin and it says not to give to kids under the age of 18. ive tried almost everything to help her sleep thru the night but not any kind of meds or whatever. I even cut out naps during the day. I don't know what else to do but once I read the warnings on this I def ruled this out

nonmember avatar April Burress

I have three children. My 13 and 12 year old take melatonin. I wouldn't give it to my 4 year old. My oldest takes it when he can't fall asleep. My 12 year old is bi polar, she goes through periods of insomnia. Not only has her doctor approved her taking melatonin but her psychiatrist also approves. It is the choice of the parent wether to use it or not.

nonmember avatar Sick

I find this very innapropriate, part of being a parent is less sleep, wait it out and deal with it. This is just not cool to do, your children dont need to be dosed up with extra hormones, TOUGHEN UP.

Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

I'm against it. It may be a naturally occurring hormone, but so is estrogen, and I wouldn't be giving my child that unless they needed it for a medical reason. It may be "natural," but so is arsenic. See where I'm going with this?

There are normal, non-drugging ways to promote good sleep habits with your children. People are so quick to jump to the easy solution that doesn't make them actually change their lifestyle or routines...

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