Our Experience with Melatonin and Toddlers
Just like many of you, my toddler was struggling to fall asleep and would wake up multiple times during the night wanting Mommy to lay down and stay in her bed. She would only fall asleep if I was next to her laying in her bed. She seemed anxious about falling asleep on her own. She was overly tired during the day and naps were hit or miss depending on our schedules and her energy levels. I wasn’t getting much sleep because Mommy is the only one that can apparently put children to bed, and that was making me an unpleasant person most days.
Enter Melatonin. It was a suggestion from a few different friends, and after some research on my own, we decided to give it a try. I know there are two differing opinions on giving children Melatonin, so I did some research on my own – I like this article the best – and talked it over with my pediatrician. He explained that toddlers can be affected by the tiniest bit of melatonin, so just cut the dose in half, or even quarters. It is essentially a hormone that regulates your wake/sleep cycle and can be triggered by darkness. Since it’s a hormone, the worry is that there is little evidence on the effects it can have later in life, like during puberty. Our goal with using it was to help regulate her sleep schedule and get her levels up during bed time. It’s the most helpful when initially falling asleep, which is what we wanted.
We chose the brand Zarbee’s Naturals which we got at Whole Foods, but you can also get it on Amazon. We gave her 1/2 a dose each night for 1 week straight and then started to go every other night. The results we saw were AMAZING. After using it on and off for over 1 month, she can now fall asleep on her own pretty instantly when lights are out. This is with or without any melatonin! For us, Melatonin has helped regulate her sleep cycle and she’s now sleeping through the night – most nights. Of course, she will get up every now and then, but will want to go right back to sleep. If you’re looking to give Melatonin a try, here are my biggest tips:
- Talk to your pediatrician and do your own research before you start using Melatonin
- Buy a high quality brand specifically made for toddlers
- Don’t give a whole dose, break the pill in half or quarters
- 2 weeks is the most I would suggest giving melatonin each night. After 2 weeks, start tapering off and use when sleep is getting interrupted
- Make it fun! We named it ”Purple Fiary Dust” and she gets so excited to have some (it is grape flavored and is purple, that helps)
- If it does not work for you, try consulting with a sleep consultant like Karolyn from Sleep & Sensibility – https://www.sleepandsensibility.com
*I am not in any way claiming Melatonin is a magic pill for sleep! I believe if you use it safely, it can be super effective at regulating the body’s sleep cycle. Consult with a medical professional before using Melatonin*