Melatonin: Finally We Sleep

I’m probably playing with fire by even thinking about writing this post, but it’s been a week and we survived a weekend away so I think we can safely say that we are out of the woods.  We are out of the woods and into the land of sleep! I am so happy about it I could dance in the street, seriously.  I don’t like to use the word miracle but melatonin really has been that for us.

For those who are new here, when Mr 5 turned 2 he decided that sleep was for the weak and should be shunned at all and every opportunity.  He started off with kicking his day sleep to the curb.  I was reluctant about this at first but after noticing that he went to sleep earlier, I admitted defeat.  Then he decided that all this sleeping at night lark was just too much to bear.  He slowly pushed back his going to sleep time (which was vastly different to his actual bed time) until it couldn’t really be said that he was going to sleep at night time anymore.

We tried everything.  We made the room dark, we made the room light.  We took his toys out, we let him play until he finally admitted defeat.  We let him stay up until we went to bed, we woke him up at set time every morning.  We ran him ragged, until we could barely stand, we turned off all technology from 2 hours before bedtime.  None of it worked, still he refused to give in to the land of the nod.

We nearly resorted to him sleeping in a tent outside..almost

We nearly resorted to him sleeping in a tent outside..almost

Our GP gave us a referral to a psychologist and a paediatrician.  The psychologist picked up on some anxiety he had around his daycare at the time.  We removed the source of stress and while it did make a difference to his behaviour, it didn’t make a difference to his sleeping troubles.  It would be a long almost twelve months until we saw the paediatrician.

On Saturday the 13th of September, we were finally able to see a paediatrician.  I will admit that I had a lot of anxiety about this appointment.  I was worried that I was putting all of my eggs in one basket, that this appointment would result in more stress after the Dr told us there was nothing he could do and to suck it up.  Thankfully that assumption (catastrophic thinking for the win!) couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The Dr was reassuring, friendly and actually got Mr 5 to talk to him, a feat that took his current daycare almost 4 months to achieve!  He congratulated us on everything we had done up until that point, because we had a happy, healthy child.  A child who, for whatever reason, just decided that he didn’t want to sleep.  He told us that the only option left was medication, in particular Melatonin.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, which is responsible for letting our bodies know that it is time for sleep.  It is thought that some people are deficient in this hormone, and so a melatonin supplement is needed for them to get to sleep.  It doesn’t help maintain sleep, but assists with the initial getting to sleep, something which Mr 5 struggled with.  Once he is asleep, he is fine, in fact heaven help someone who tries to wake him before he is ready!

I was realistic about the melatonin.  I didn’t think it was going to be a miracle drug, or anything of the kind.  In fact to protect my already anxiety riddled brain I had already resigned myself to the melatonin not working.  I could not have been more wrong.  On the instruction of the paediatrician, we gave Mr 5 the melatonin an hour before his normal bed time.  At 830pm we put him into his bed.  At 845pm Paul sat in the lounge room staring at each in disbelief as we realised that Mr 5 was fast asleep in his bed.

melatoninNeither of us could believe how quickly and effectively the melatonin had worked.  It felt surreal to be able to go about our normal Saturday night TV watching and not have to deal with a non sleeping Mr 5 coming out of his room at regular intervals.  Through the week I was amazed at all of the things I could get done because I had more mental energy.  I wasn’t falling behind in my blogging stuff like I normally did and writing a post actually only took me a short amount of time.  I knew that the lack of sleep was having an impact on me, but I didn’t realise how much until the last week.

We had our first hiccup on Wednesday night, and I worried that we had gotten all of the usefulness out of the melatonin.  Thankfully it appeared to just be a blip in the radar and he went back to the 830pm bedtime every night since.  We really tested the melatonin over the weekend just gone and tried it in a strange environment.  It passed the test with flying colours.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.  It feels so different to be watching TV and not have to field questions from Mr 5.  I have Me time at night.  I feel more human during the day.  It might have only been just over a week since we started the melatonin but the change has been amazing.

Do you have a sleep dodger?  Have you ever tried melatonin?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!

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22 thoughts on “Melatonin: Finally We Sleep

  1. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    That is really interesting!
    Not heard of Melatonin and I don’t have sleep dodgers (other than me … which has me up at 4.30am most days at the moment) but I am really interested in this.
    I am so happy you are getting some alone time and your boy is getting the sleep he needs.
    Hope it sticks!
    Leanne

    Reply
  2. Nathan

    What a relief that must be! Gilbert, who is 10, has fallen into the habit of staying up late. In his own words he can’t “shut his brain down”. Most nights, though, he will lay quietly in bed and wait to drift off to sleep. It’s to do with his autism and anxiety, and he may need medication one day. While I am aware of melatonin and its important role in our sleep patterns, I didn’t realise there was a medication based on it.

    Reply
  3. Rebecca

    I have had to take melatonin before and I was so surprised at how natural the sleep is opposed to sleeping tablets – those things are whack. I am glad you got a good night off 🙂 Bec x

    Reply
  4. EssentiallyJess

    I’ve heard about melatonin, but didn’t realise how great it was. I wonder how it occurs naturally? That might work for my mister who is no where near as sleep defiant as yours, but still struggles to unwind.

    Reply
  5. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen

    Tegan, what a relief that must be, for all of you! I know that sleep deprivation is a kind of torture when you’re trying to actually get things done in the daytime. It’s incredible what a difference having enough sleep makes.

    Reply
  6. Hugzilla

    Oh man, that must feel amazing. A couple of friends of mine who have children on the autism spectrum have had their lives changed by melatonin, and they swear by it for extreme cases like. I’m so glad it seems to be helping – you and he must honestly feel so much better for it.

    Reply
  7. Angela

    All I can say is ABOUT TIME! Finally the appointment (one less stress for you), AND the medication (and it actually worked). I can only imagine the relief you feel for having those two things sorted. It makes me really happy to hear that you have more energy and I can feel the positivity coming from this post. I hope in this you find the strength (and rest of course) to keep making positive changes xo

    Reply
  8. Tracy

    I have worked with numerous childen whose parents sing the praises of melatonin. My oldest daughter went through a stressful time last year (Yr11) and got into som unhelpful sleep (or lack of it!) routines and a short stint with melatonin helped her get her normal rhythm back.

    So glad to hear you are all getting more sleep and coping with everyday life with more ease. It is amazing how much of a difference good sleep makes isn’t it?

    Reply
  9. chantel

    Bet you don’t know yourself with all that extra sleep 🙂 I’ve heard such good things from melatonin use – sounds like a sanity saver!!!

    Hello from #teamIBOT

    Reply
  10. Melissa Chambers

    Wow….that is awesome. I’ve heard of Melatonin but didn’t know that it came in drug form. What a relief it must be for you and your sweet boy (love the angelic look on his face in your pic) to finally have him sleeping well.

    Reply
  11. Dani @ sand has no home

    My 3 year old, who has ASD is on melatonin. It used to take him about 2 hours to be able to close his eyes and go to sleep while he was lying in bed. It drove us mad and he was exhausted. Our paed prescribed it for him in late January and it is great to get him to sleep (unless he has had a day sleep, then it takes hours). In our case, unfortunately, though the melatonin is great to get him to sleep, he still wakes up multiple times during the night. I gave him a second dose (we had checked with the paed previously to make sure that s ok) at 4:15am after he was up for 2 hours.
    Good luck with it. I know how torturous long term sleep deprivation is.

    Reply
      1. Tegan Post author

        You can get it over the counter but I have heard that it’s a different concentration. The prescription stuff is also a controlled released. Your best bet would be to chat to a pharmacist or your GP to get the best dose for you.

        Reply

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