Friday, February 11, 2011

Lovin’ Melatonin

After talking with our psychiatrist about my son’s sleep issues, he recommended trying melatonin before bed each night.

I have to say, we’re lovin’ melatonin!

My son went right to sleep the first night and woke up in such a good mood. Hang on, it gets better! Then after school he was full of happy stories and talked about how much fun he had. Later that day, he came up to me with his arms stretched wide and a huge smile on his face. When I asked him what he was up to, he gave me the biggest hug and said, “I feel soooo happy!”

To him it was obvious that the melatonin made all the difference, he even asked if he could have it every night. So far, after three days of taking it, we’ve seen a huge improvement in every aspect of his life. This is really exciting to us since the week started out with a wave of irritability and increased stress. Even Monday, my husband came home early to help manage him because we sensed he was very close to an explosion. But after taking the melatonin, he appears all refreshed, it was like a reset button, bringing him back to his normal self.

What I also love about melatonin is that it’s pretty harmless compared to the other medications he has to take. It’s an over-the-counter supplement that we grind up and put into his drink. I’m thrilled to see positive results without a list of side effects to worry about. I’m also reminded about how much our son’s illness is amplified when he isn’t getting good quality sleep. Good sleep is essential for his stability.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Melatonin has been shown to be effective in treating one form of depression, seasonal affective disorder, and is being considered for bipolar and other disorders where circadian disturbances are involved. It has been observed that bipolar disorder might have, as a “trait marker” (something which is characteristic of being bipolar, that does not change with state), supersensitivity to light, i.e. a greater decrease in melatonin secretion in response to light exposure at night.

We’re very hopeful that this may be the final link for some consistent stability, heck a few months would be nice.

Happy Friday Everyone!

* * *

More on Melatonin:


  1. That is good! The sleep is really helping him!! One thing to keep in mind is that even though melatonin seems safe because it is natural, it still comes with potential issues. Melatonin is a hormone and as such is often not recommended for use in children as it can tamper with their puberty/ development and thyroid function. Also, last I heard there are no long term studies on its use on children. Check out this link from the National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health.

    But, I am really glad it's helping for now!

  2. Thanks Meg for the info, that's good to know, I'll have to check it out!

  3. This is a very informative article. I will try to research more about Melatonin. thanks!

  4. So glad you're having good results with the melatonin, Mama Bear!

  5. Really interesting info on melatonin from a lighting nerd:
    In the past five years, opthamologists have discovered a new receptor on the back of the eye that regulates our circadian rhythms. It is sensitive to light, specifically COLORS of light. Our melatonin production depends on us getting warmer-colored light in the mornings and evenings (think sunrise and sunset...) and bluer-colored light during the day (blue sky). Before electricity, people used candles at night, which also have a nice warm color. Unfortunately in our modern society, we are pushing blue light sources (fluorescent and LED) for their energy-efficiency at night. We have those blue sources in our computers and TVs and suddenly there is a huge spike in cancers, diabetes, mental illness, obesity and lots of other diseases due to the surpressed melatonin production. There are tons of studies on shift workers and night nurses to support this. It's scary what is happening. So yes, melatonin supplements are GOOD. And try to keep your kids away from TV and computers in the evenings!

    So glad the melatonin is helping! I may try it, too!

  6. Gina- What about kids that leave their bedroom lights on all night due to anxiety? Does this affect their rhythms?

  7. Not if it's light with more of a yellow spectrum to it. Night lights - red is the best for not disturbing sleep patterns. But if it appears pretty blue, it's TERRIBLE. I'm really not too happy about congress passing a ban on incandescent light bulbs starting next year. The industry is not ready for this yet... :(

  8. I had my son take melatonin when he was about 14. At that age they all get their clocks switched. ( do you remember when they were new born and there were those nights when they were up all night and sleep all day - same thing) I love it too but I did not know it was good to treat depression. That is very useful information to have.

  9. Melatonin has been a Godsend here too!!

    My kids take a liquid that they say tastes great.