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Autism & Sleep Momma Perham 2 kids; Florida 7625 posts
10th Mar '13

My 2.5yr old daughter has not been diagnosed yet other than Developmentally Delayed & Non-verbal, after completing an M-Chat w/ her service coordinator the Psychologist determined she does need further testing for ASD & that will happen in May. My question is for those of you who have Autistic children that use Meletonin for bedtime. Bedtime in our house for our daughter is quite difficult & we have ordeals that can last up to 2 or even 3hrs! I've checked Walmart for the Meletonin since it is OTC & that along w/ all the other sleep aids (including even gummies, which I was thrilled to see) say not intended for those under 18yrs old. So I'm concerned about trying them. How young can the Meletonin or any sleep aid be used & what is the dosage you use? How well does it work & is it something that needs to be given daily for effectiveness or can we only use it when we need it?

Historymomma 2 kids; La Grange, North Carolina 403 posts
10th Mar '13

My daughter is not autistic, but we use melatonin for bed time. I go to Walgreens to purchase it because they have the chewable strawberry ones that my daughter likes. My daughter had a bad habit of getting up like 5 times a night for no reason, so our pediatrician recommended the melatonin, he said his son took it because he would fight sleep for 3 hours. We do not use it every night, but probably 4 nights out of the week, and when we go a week or two without using it, I can seem she is right back to her old habits. We tried everything to keep her asleep, she does not watch any tv AT LEAST an hour before bed and then we have a nice 45 minute long bedtime routine with bath, stories, songs, etc... The use of melatonin really works for us!

Ben. 3 kids; Minnesota 7942 posts
10th Mar '13

my son is on melatonin. He has been for 2 years. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Be careful not to give it to her too early before bed or you could mess up her sleep rhythm. We did that and my son because we thought he might need to take it early and let it settle. It was a mess, he was waking up at 4 am daily, ready to play. After 6 months, we had to stop it and thats what the sleep dr ended up telling us.

We give it right at bed time and he is usually sleeping about 20 mn later. When dh forgets (:x) it takes him 2ish hours or more.

7 blessings so far.... Due February 3; 6 kids; Glen Burnie, Maryland 8799 posts
10th Mar '13

check w/the childs doctor. Kids at that age vary in size so the weight may be a dosing issue (if she is even ''big'' enough to take ot at all)
does your child display adhd symptoms also or just asd? My son has Aspergers and ADHD and has always had sleeping issues (meletonin didnt help) but when he was quite small caffiene would calm him down b4 bed.....stimulants have the opposite effect on add/adhd and alot of kids w/asd have adhd also.

Momma Perham 2 kids; Florida 7625 posts
11th Mar '13

Sorry for the post & run yesterday...I was at work & it got busy.



How old are your children that take the Meletonin & what dosage do you use? My daughter is 2.5yrs old & approx. 23lbs. I'm thinking of asking her ST & ITDS about it b/c the pediatrician she is currently seeing, I'm not too pleased w/ him or his staff. They seem to brush off a lot of mine & her therapists concerns & aren't very helpful.

Mommy of 2 + 1 angel 2 kids; 1 angel baby; Pearl, Mississippi 19327 posts
12th Mar '13

My child is 3 and half years old. She took melatonin for a month and a half. It helped her sleep but also caused her to have nightmares every night. Actually she had the same nightmare every night. I was giving her 1/4 of a 5 mg pill of melatonin. I looked up nightmares and melatonin and how much a child should take because my cousin said I wasn't giving her enough. When I looked it up I found that if your body already produces enough melatonin it can cause nightmares so I stopped giving it to her. She hasn't had a nightmare since 3 days after I stopped giving it to her. I say you could try it but it doesn't always work for everyone. I've found that my daughter's sleep problems are caused by absent seizures and melatonin can't fix that. I hope you figure it out!

Historymomma 2 kids; La Grange, North Carolina 403 posts
12th Mar '13

My daughter is 3 and 1/2 and she gets about 2 1/2 mg

mama3trish 3 kids; Ontario 9524 posts
13th Mar '13

My son is 4 now and non-verbal ASD, and he never slept after a year old until almost a year ago. I tried the melatonin, but melatonin only lasts for 4 hours and my son would always sleep initially for 3-4 hours and then be up all day long. I too asked many a pharmacist and naturalpath about dosages and none would give me the okay to use it, so I asked my pedi friend and she said 1 mg was safe. It never worked, but it may for you. I was telling you my story to give you hope-my kid went from sleeping 3-4 hours for at least a year and a half to now sleeping for 8-11 hours a night. Be persistent and keep it calm after a reasonable time.good luck.

Momma Perham 2 kids; Florida 7625 posts
13th Mar '13

Ok, thanks ladies. I'll check some other stores for it too b/c I think Walmart only had the capsules & I don't know what mg they were. I really wanted to try the gummies b/c I don't know how I'll give her any portion of a pill.

Lady in the Garden Japan 147 posts
15th Mar '13

My 2.5 year old is diagnosed with autism. I had a horrible time getting him to bed until I made our bedtime routine more strict and orderly. One event following another. Perhaps you could try using some kind of cues? Like reading the same book, or showing him a picture of what comes next? I have all our pictures for transitions laminated (with tape lol) so he can grab them and not ruin them. I'm a little tired and not explaining this great, but I wish you the best of luck! I see nothing wrong with taking supplements for the record as well. Might as well try it in addition to the routine thing. Give the supplement at he same time following the same order of events. It might aid as a cue as well. Good luck.

Momma Perham 2 kids; Florida 7625 posts
16th Mar '13
Quoting Lady in the Garden:" My 2.5 year old is diagnosed with autism. I had a horrible time getting him to bed until I made our bedtime ... [snip!] ... thing. Give the supplement at he same time following the same order of events. It might aid as a cue as well. Good luck."


We tried creating a strict routine & sticking to it....it worked for 3 straight nights then the 4th night we put her to bed an hour late b/c we had family over for my husband's birthday, we stuck to the routine but even the slightest change obviously causes major issues for my daughter. The 5th night the routine worked great again but after that it hasn't been working. We tried the Meletonin last night....We found gummies w/ 3mg Meletonin & gave her a half of one at 7:30pm, put her to bed at 8pm & she did still have a few minor compulsive behaviors but once she knew I was sitting in her room w/ her while she was falling asleep she was fine & I was able to sneak out within 5-8mins.



I'm working a 14hr overnight shift tonight & my husband said he gave her another half of a gummy at 7:30pm & sat in her room w/ her laying down & she was out in 5mins again but I was just on FB w/ him & he told me she had woken up about 30mins ago showing her compulsiveness again so I'm a bit baffled that even w/ the Meletonin in her system she would wake up in the middle of the night like that.

Historymomma 2 kids; La Grange, North Carolina 403 posts
16th Mar '13

<blockquote><b>Quoting Momma Perham:</b>" We tried creating a strict routine & sticking to it....it worked for 3 straight nights then the ... [snip!] ... again so I'm a bit baffled that even w/ the Meletonin in her system she would wake up in the middle of the night like that."</blockquote>




Since melatonin is a supplement, my pediatrician said that a child can take the full adult does, is needed. So, maybe try upping it to one full gummy? I don't know...

Momma Perham 2 kids; Florida 7625 posts
17th Mar '13
Quoting Historymomma:" <blockquote><b>Quoting Momma Perham:</b>" We tried creating a strict routine & ... [snip!] ... said that a child can take the full adult does, is needed. So, maybe try upping it to one full gummy? I don't know..."


I guess I could try that....The dosage info on the bottle of the gummies is to take 2 gummies but I can try 1 & see how that works. I'm just so scared that 3mg may be too much. It helped her get to sleep quickly last night but she ended up waking up multiple times throughought the night & some of those times it was hard to get her back down b/c she was being compulsive about items around the room again.

Lady in the Garden Japan 147 posts
18th Mar '13
Quoting Momma Perham:" I guess I could try that....The dosage info on the bottle of the gummies is to take 2 gummies but I ... [snip!] ... & some of those times it was hard to get her back down b/c she was being compulsive about items around the room again."


Don't "quote" me on this, but from my understanding about melatonin supplements taken as a dietary supplement, there is no evidence that it will be metabolized in the brain, let alone, even be able to penetrate the blood brain barrier in any well controlled, randomized experiments or quasi-experiments in any peer reviewed journal articles with a substantial sample size and significant results thus far. Melatonin supplements are considered an alternative practice, not an evidence based one, which I do know as a fact since I have personally been a part of a research team that compiled a table of all the different therapies for each major problem area in childhood disorders. Although, you have to do what works for your child, despite the research, but do use it as a guide. Perhaps consider a more behaviorally based approach? Think in terms of classical conditioning and rewards/punishments. ABA and DTT are great formats for teaching certain skills, even perhaps, how to put oneself to sleep through the night. A quick google search on your part on these two therapeutic formats and their implementation may provide you with some ideas for strategizing how to solve this sleeping problem. Good luck ;)

mamabear30 Ogden, Utah 5 posts
18th Mar '13

My 5 year old with autism takes 5 mg of melatonin every night. every once in a while we will have a take a couple day break and then start up again so it will become effective again, those nights without it are horrible because he doesn't sleep and neither do I. We started off with a small dose, then worked our way up. i won't go higher than 5 for him. If it stops working, i will take him in and get him something different.