View Full Version : Anyone using Melatonin for their child?

06-10-09, 11:19 PM
If anyone is using melatonin, short or long term, for their child's sleep problems, due to adhd meds, what dose are you using and what have you experienced?

Many thanks!

06-14-09, 01:55 AM
My 4 1/2 yr old son has been taking 1mg melatonin about 45 minutes before bedtime for around 10 months. He has been taking 20mg Vyvanse in the AM for the same amount of time. The melatonin works great for him. He is able to wind down very easily. Prior to starting Vyvanse, we tried just Clonidine (very small dose) in the evening and it worked incredibly well. We decided to switch to melatonin when he started the Vyvanse just to be on the safe side. I had come across a very minimal amount of information online that suggested a contraindication with stimulants and Clonidine (though I don't think there's been any solid confirmation on this). These two are frequently prescribed together. so when we asked our son's pediactric behavior doctor about it, he said to just try melatonin so we would be more comfortable.

For me (dx ADHD), melatonin doesn't help me get to sleep any faster, it seems to put me in and out of deep sleep. Time-release helps with this. I've tried to get our son to take the sublinguals but he just chews them up. :)

Hope this helps. Good luck.


07-07-09, 09:05 AM
My friend's son takes it and they have had great results (he takes Ritalin and Concerta during the day). He has always had a hard time unwinding and falling asleep - both pre and post-meds.

07-21-09, 10:31 AM
I used Melatonine for 2 years with my son due to not being able to get his sleeping meds prescribed and not being able to find a psyc it worked well for him.

07-21-09, 03:29 PM
I (am not a child) am using melatonin currently to combat sleep issues on Concerta.
Its not working great for me, but I need to stop drinking caffeinated soda past dinner time too...

I seem to have very lucid dreams while on melatonin though...

08-07-09, 09:27 AM
My daughter (14 yrs) takes 3mg Melatonin and it works great for her.

08-07-09, 09:31 AM
use this on my autistic son (15yo). 1 and a half tablets (not sure of the strength). Means we can go to sleep without worrying what stupid life threatening stuff he will get up to during the night

08-07-09, 04:36 PM
I have not tried it yet, but just bought some. We are switching to a new pediatrician, and I mentioned to him that my son always has trouble getting to sleep, even without medication. He suggested 1-3 mg. of melatonin because it is not habit forming. Anyone experience any side effects?

08-07-09, 06:02 PM
I use it myself as needed and give it to my 8 y/o when he has trouble falling asleep (maybe 2x week). Always helps him and no side effects. Actually I remember reading something a while ago that it can actually be beneficial for health, but can't remember the details.

08-11-09, 08:15 AM
Is this something you can buy over-the-counter? (I live in Canada, if that makes a difference.) We are having an awful time with my 5 year old daughter. She's been taking Concerta for about 6 weeks now, and some nights she's not going to bed until 1:00 am!!! :(

08-11-09, 08:33 AM
In the U.S., yes, it's over the counter.

08-11-09, 09:59 AM
Tons of details about melatonin here:

Research shows that after melatonin is administered to ADHD ( patients on methylphenidate (, the time needed to fall asleep is significantly reduced. Furthermore, the effects of the melatonin after three months showed no change from its effects after one week of use.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders ( (ASD) may have lower than normal levels of melatonin. A 2008 study found that unaffected parents of individuals with ASD also have lower melatonin levels, and that the deficits were associated with low activity of the ASMT gene, which encodes the last enzyme of melatonin synthesis.

And the part I was thinking of earlier is explained on that page that it is a powerful antioxidant, too. Definitely good info on that page.

08-11-09, 07:25 PM
Okay, I just ran out and bought some (I'm in dire need of a break - can you tell?!!). Each tablet contains 3mg, and I'm going to try giving her one tonight at about 8:00. Is this something that can be taken safely for an indefinite period of time? I shall let you all know tomorrow if we've (finally) had success.

08-12-09, 12:22 PM
We just started our son of 12 on 2.5mg. It was prescribed by a neurologist after a lab saliva test to determin his melatonine production. It was found he only starts to produce enough melatonin after 10 to feel sleepy. It looks promissing but still early days. Fingers crossed!!

08-12-09, 01:13 PM
Okay, so she had 1 tablet at 8:00 last night. She agreed she would have a bath, get into some jammies, and lay in my bed. She agreed to have just 1 snack while I read her a couple of stories, then she was allowed to look at books as long as there was light (but no lights were to be turned on). She bugged us a couple of times, but was sleeping by 9:30. It was such a nice break!! But, of course, I'm not holding my breath. We always seem to find something that works, but then after 3 or 4 nights, we're back to square 1. I won't hold my breath, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

08-12-09, 09:55 PM
That is interesting that they can test the level - I never considered that. My son cannot fall asleep until at least 10:30, no matter what time he goes to bed or how active he was during the day. You can run the kid ragged and he'll still be lying there looking at the ceiling at 10:30 or 11:00. We are going on vacation, so that will screw up the schedule, but I'll give it a try when we get back during the week before school.

Wadcorbe - hope it keeps working for you. If my son fell asleep by 9:30 I would pass out from the shock. :-)

08-13-09, 01:20 AM
Here's a follow-up report on our 4 1/2 yr old son's success with melatonin...

He's been taking 1 mg about 30-45 minutes before bed time for about 14 months. He changed from 20mg Vyvanse 1x per day to 7.5 mg Adderall IR 2x per day about a month ago. The stimulant change did not adversely affect his success with melatonin at night. He is still compliant at bed time and falls asleep within 10 minutes every night.

Prior to melatonin, it was nearly impossible for him to calm himself down enough to get to sleep without having to physically hold him down with an arm or two over him. He has always had a consistent bed time routine.

Tonight, he was all over the place at bed time and could not stay laying down in bed. Non-stop talking and trying to get out of bed. I called my wife up to help out and she realized she had forgotten to give him his melatonin - which I believe - is only the second time in 14 months. 15 minutes after taking the pill, he was asleep.

So, melatonin has been fantastic for us and it has maintained its effectiveness.

08-13-09, 03:39 PM
i am an adult and take 2 tablets each 3 mg. It works great. I am not tired when i wake up.

08-14-09, 11:12 PM
We tried it tonight for the first time with my son. It seems to have helped alot. He took a late afternoon nap and I really thought tonight was going to be hell. He is in my bed resting comfy.

08-17-09, 08:11 PM
I think Melatonin is very helpful. I am sensitive to medications so I can only take 1.5 milligrams. My son, who is 10, is also sensitive. I give him 1/2 of a milligram.

I don't know if anyone else has experienced this interesting side effect, but if you take too much Melatonin, it can cause nightmares.

From this website (

"6. Dream enhancement. This could lead to vivid, enjoyable and memorable dreams or, on the flip side, vivid nightmares. Melatonin enhances REM sleep. Any dose over 0.5 or 1 mg is likely to make dreams very intense. People report nightmares on high doses of 2 to 5 mg."

I took too much the other night, and I had a really nice, lucid nightmare. :p

We figured it out when my son began waking up at night from horrible nightmares. We did some research on nightmares and came across information that Melatonin can cause nightmares.

08-17-09, 09:33 PM
I find melatonin to be very helpful. I'd much rather take a melatonin than a Tylenol PM.

I wonder if it's okay to take whilst pregnant. My wife is pregnant and has really bad insomnia. The doctors said Tylenol PM would be fine to take. She said, "no way Jose." I don't blame her. I can't see how Tylenol PM would be benign to an unborn. But, I would think melatonin should be okay.

08-18-09, 08:11 AM
My 7 yr old daughter has lots of energy at bedtime. I scratch her back, talk, while laying in bed to help her fall asleep. Tried melatonin 1 mg for 3 nights about 1hr before bed. Worked great, but she was having this recurring dream about traveling through someones body, which I know she got from watching a cartoon about the same. This dream was very disturbing to her. After I stopped the melatonin, the dream stopped. Maybe I should try 1/2 mg.

08-18-09, 10:15 AM
Well, just like everything else we've tried, the melatonin is disappointing us. :( DD still won't go to sleep until we all go to sleep, and she has to sleep in our bedroom. I just don't know what to do. Any advice? Maybe I've given in too much, but I don't know where to draw the line anymore. She doesn't eat much during the day, so she wants lots of snacks at night. Do I say no, you can starve, and hope that she eats the next day? I hate to say no when she's asking for something healthy, and if I do say no, it excalates into such a huge blowup that can last for hours. Do I put my foot down and say no tv, no light, no toys, and listen to her scream for hours and kick at her door, and have to repeatedly drag her upstairs everytime she comes down? Do I lock her in her ******* bedroom, and hope she doesn't break a bone or her door while she bangs on it and screams? Seriously, there are some nights I'm surprised nobody's called the cops on us, with the amount of screaming that goes on. Neigbours must think we're a bunch of freaks.....

08-18-09, 10:37 AM
Wadcorbe, what is her typical daily schedule like? What time does she wake up, take her meds, etc. When do you have dinner, start to wind down and try to put her to bed?

08-18-09, 11:36 AM
Having found out the reason why our son couldn't fall asleep helped us a lot to understand him, and be able to explain others that the problem is real! Almost two weeks on we have still good results;I suddenly have time to watch a movie or read a book undisturbed, not having to check on him and wait untill he sleeps befor I can go to bed myself. The best part is: He realises himself that it helps and asks for it. The next step is a better routine in the morning, without having to drag him out of his bed!

08-18-09, 02:54 PM
Wadcorbe, what is her typical daily schedule like? What time does she wake up, take her meds, etc. When do you have dinner, start to wind down and try to put her to bed?

She's usually up at about 8:00, and takes her meds right away. It's usually a struggle to get her to eat breakfast, and lunch for that matter. I usually have to bribe her to eat something healthy. We usually go out in the mornings for a bike ride, to the park, library, etc. Then quiet in the afternoon while her sister naps (we'll watch tv, colour, work on a puzzle, etc.). Dinner is usually around 6-6:30 (which often she will not sit down to eat), then we've been giving her the melatonin at about 7:30 or 8:00, and trying to get her into bed. Of course, by that time the Concerta has worn off, and she's bouncing off the walls. Just trying to get her to brush her teeth and put on pyjamas is a chore. Wrangling her to get her into her bedroom is enough to make me sweat, and keeping her there is next to impossible. Any advice? Anybody?!

Lady Lark
08-18-09, 06:47 PM
When my son was in his meltdown phase, I just walked away. He'd follow, I'd either 1) calmly, with no talking put him back, or 2) go somewhere else. When he got a bit older, and was easier to reason with we started working on ways to express frustration, without tearing the house down. Eventually he started to "get it" and realize that screaming at me will get him nothing but a sore throat.

As for dinner battles, I stopped fighting. Eat what I give you, or go hungry. If you eat, you get snacks, desert, etc, if not nothing until the next meal. Even for underweight kids, occasionally missing a meal isn't going to kill them.

Basically, pick you battles. If it's not going to be worth a potential knock down, drag out fight every time you try and enforce it, then don't ever enforce it. One clear boundaries are in place, and understood, eventually they understand and things calm down.

08-19-09, 02:33 PM
Just trying to get her to brush her teeth and put on pyjamas is a chore. Wrangling her to get her into her bedroom is enough to make me sweat, and keeping her there is next to impossible. Any advice? Anybody?!

Sounds a lot like our 4.5 yr old son. We let him snack in the evening because of his appetite suppression from Adderall during the day. I take Adderall as well so I know what this is like. Daytime appetite should improve some over time.

At 6:30, we give him .5 mg Melatonin (just switched from 1 mg to try to lessen nightmares). He is a sensory kid - mostly hyposensitive so he thrives on audible stimulation and movement. So, at 7:00, I push him on the swing we have have in his playroom (from IKEA - attaches to celing). I play music for him while he swing. The music is mostly classic rock, house, 70's, 80's, dance and I have it pretty darn loud. Usually, within 15-20 minutes of swinging, his eyes start to get heavy and he even drifts off to sleep sometimes.

At 7:30ish, I take him to bath. He's usually great in the bath. However, when he gets out of the tub, he's all over the place and it's the same struggles you mention. I maintain my calm regardless and do everything I can to keep him focused on the routine. Brush teeth, comb hair, put on a pull-up, take his clothes to laundry basket in his bedroom, get jammies on, get in bed, mommy comes in to say goodnight, read 1-3 stories, pray, kiss, maybe let him talk a little after that. I have to stay in his bed with him until he's asleep. He is usually out within 5-15 minutes. Prior to meds and swinging, he had to be physically held down to help him get calm enough to sleep.

He wakes up every night sometime between 10:00-2:00 and calls for us and will only go back to sleep if he's in our bed.

So, every kid is different but this seems to work for us. Although we really don't like having to be in his bed for him to get to sleep and also him coming to our room every night.

Good luck.

08-19-09, 03:55 PM
Your doctor might be able to suggest or prescribe something else to help with the sleep. However, short of that, I would definately give the melatonin a bit earlier in the night. Say maybe 6:30 or 7.

So many ADHDers have food issues. You migh be able to negotiate a calm bed time routine for some less than healthy food. As long as it does not have too much sugar.

Im also not big on just forcing them to stay in their room. I have always let my kids read in bed. It at least gives them something to do while they try and go to sleep. Although after 30-60 mins I enforce lights out if they are not asleep yet.

08-26-09, 09:58 PM
My 7 year old takes 3 mg of melatonin and it has worked WONDERFULLY!!! He has been on it for about a year and a half. Originally had been taking clonidine, but I had issues with this as it is vasoactive itself,as the stimulants can be. Also most children with "sudden deaths" from stimulants were on clonidine at the time.
I am an advanced practice nurse and researched side effects of melatonin, and here is what I found:
-vivid dreams, sometime nightmares
-possibly associated with a delay in puberty, but this was a theoretical concern not substantiated in the real world
There was also a study that you can google from Europe, where women were taking astronomical amounts of melatonin, like 35 mg a day, with no reported side effects.

08-27-09, 12:37 PM
I have been using melatonin on my son for about a month. Now I haven't given it to him with his adhd medication yet because he has only started the meds today. It usually gets him to bed in about an hour vs him staying up till 12 to 1am. Melatonin has been a life saver for me.

08-27-09, 08:28 PM
We finally tried it last night. 1.25 mg. He took it at about 9 and then we had bedtime reading. When we were done, we told him he could read alone until 9:30 and then lights out. When I checked on him around 9:40 he was still awake, but he was out cold by 10. This is astounding, as he usually would still be wide awake at 11:30! He did complain of feeling groggy this a.m. We are going to reduce each night until we find the smallest amount that is effective.

08-27-09, 10:41 PM
Cut back to 3/4 tsp tonight (a bit over 1/2 of last night's dose) and he's still awake and hour later.

Trooper Keith
08-29-09, 10:46 AM
At the juvenile psychiatric hospital where I work, melatonin 6mg qpm is the first line medication we use for insomnia in our kids. It appears to be pretty effective. I personally use it as well, though I'm not a child. Melatonin is a great first line.

09-06-09, 12:28 AM
Thanks to all the replies to my original message.

I asked the question to see what the findings would be. Our result was strange. I learned about melatonin at a health conference for doctors and heard that the 3mg pills sold in Canada are higher doses than what is sold elsewhere. In particular, I heard that in Germany many, many people are taking melatonin but they take very small doses such as 1 mg or possibly less.

So, when I decided to try out the melatonin in our family I took it myself (I'm not on any meds) and I felt drowsy after about a half hour....but I only took about 1/6th of the 3mg pill. I went to bed early, like 10 pm because I was tired. I could feel it working. However I was WIDE AWAKE at like, 4:30 am, completely unheard of for me.

I tried it on my 11 yo and he had a similar reaction (I didn't tell him about my experience). He was up during the night, I don't know what time, it was awhile back, but was also WIDE AWAKE, not typical.

Perhaps we didn't have a large enough dose and it "wore off" too soon, but after the experience of a couple of weird nights and not being able to wake up for school, I didn't give him any more. I'm glad that others have found things worked out. Thanks again for all the replies.

09-06-09, 01:12 AM
There are a couple of types of melatonin, at least here in the US. One is just plain melatonin the other is a time release. Normally the just melatonin version is a sublingual lozange (sp) that one puts under the tounge and the other is swallowed as a capsule. The former is for folks that have a hard time getting to sleep, the latter more for folks who have a hard time staying asleep.

Finally, in some folks the melatonin can actually be converted to serotonin or cause elevated serotonin, which can cause one to actually not get to sleep or wake up at night instead.

Also, I had some testing done to determine my melatonin levels and this was a 24 hour test. Turned out that I actually had elevated daytime levels. I could never quite figure out why though even with researching this.

Oh and taking a bath right before bed can help children fall asleep due to the changes in body temperature. The body cooling down after the warm bath tells the body it's time to sleep.


09-06-09, 06:31 AM
Well, I'm not a kid, I'm 26, but I get precribed Melatonin by my Doc; 2mg capsules.
I'm supposed to take 1 or 2 before I plan on going to bed, but it doesn't really work.
My Doc wasn't surprised when I told him that they had no effect on me, he just told me to figure it out for myself as he wasn't prepared to prescibe anything heavy-duty as he has done in the past.

I took five (10mg in total) last night, and it took ages to get off to sleep, but I did actually feel 'rested' when I woke up this morning.


09-13-09, 08:30 AM
my 3 year old was giving 7 mg of meatonin a night but it didnt help at all

09-13-09, 09:43 AM
try the melatonin again, I read somewhere that people who take melatonin should take it for 2 weeks, take a rest of a couple of days and start again. Also give your child healthy snacks, sugar will just make her/him hyper. You are the parent, do not give in to the child's whims. Most children are whimsical by nature, so do not be afraid to be a little strict. It is not abuse to say "NO" to a child.

09-23-09, 10:26 PM
Well I told my child's pdoc about our melatonin experience back in worked to fall asleep but he woke up very early or in the night. She said she has consulted a sleep expert (doctor) on melatonin. It appears that this sleep guru has patients on a type of melatonin that is imported (to Canada) from Europe..I believe the UK to be exact. The sleep doc said the quality in North America is too variable, not good enough, etc. and the potency is not there. So I guess for his "tough cases" he advises the other kind. I have no idea which brand, just that it is very, very expensive. So although we get 3mg pills in Canada, and in Germany they apparantly use about .5 mg, there is a difference. It all boils down to quality. Someone should google melatonin quality ....I will if I get some time.