How can melatonin help my child with ADHD deal with insomnia?

A study analyzed reams of data on the efficacy and safety of melatonin for treating insomnia in children with ADHD and the authors indicate it can be a safe and helpful way to improve the falling-asleep process for these young insomniacs. Here is what they found:

• Melatonin is a hormone your body produces to help it regulate your sleep-wake cycles; it usually starts pumping out of your pineal gland after it has become dark outside and your body prepares for bedtime. When melatonin levels in the blood rise, you begin to feel less alert and sleep becomes more inviting.

• Children with ADHD usually have trouble falling asleep, which can have tremendous consequences to both their health and family life. Less sleep means a less-than-optimal refreshment of the brain and body during the night.

• Giving 3 to 6 mg of melatonin within a few hours of bedtime has been shown to help kids with ADHD overcome some of their insomnia and improve their sleep. “Kids” in most cases reviewed in the study meant 6 to 14 years of age.

While this research is very important in our understanding of ADHD and sleep, I would not consider placing a child on melatonin without working with both a sleep specialist and the child’s pediatrician.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.