Fuckin’ sleep man. Is there anything better than sleep? If you say spending time playing stupid games with your kids, then you’re lying. I do not love playing stupid kid games, but it comes with the parenting gig. I will oblige when necessary, though I would much rather take Maddy to a playground and let her run around than play a zillionth game of Candy Land (which Greg actually hid by the way because he couldn’t take it anymore).
But this isn’t a post about playing kid games, though I really should write about that at some point. This is about the big pink elephant in the room whenever parents discuss their child’s sleep issues: melatonin. It’s definitely a “hot button” topic these days: To (safely) drug your kid, or to not (safely) drug your kid? That is the question.
I’ve done a fair amount of amateur research regarding melatonin and kids. Since I can’t find a study conducted that specifically observes and examines the physiological effects of melatonin on a child, (probably because parents would never admit to allowing their kid to participate in such a study because everyone is too scared of being judged, but if they asked me Maddy would’ve been in that sleep clinic yesterday) there isn’t a directly established cause and effect relationship between the two. However, the literature that is available is consistent with the facts that you cannot overdose on melatonin, and it’s a relatively safe option for childhood sleep disorders when used for the right reasons and at an appropriate dosage (AKA don’t hit them with 10 mg it if you just wanna catch the latest episode of the Kardashians).
But what if your kid doesn’t have a sleep disorder, such as mine? What if there are just some nights when they are too hyper, anxious, restless, etc. and can’t get to sleep? Maddy is a pretty active little girl and there are plenty of nights when she is too wired and cannot fall asleep on her own, so we’ve given her some melatonin. Sometimes Mama just needs the kid to go the fuck to sleep, and that magical safe drug is pulled down from the cabinet. No, I don’t feel bad or guilty about using it. I’m a human and I am a mother, and I DGAF.
What I love most about the whole melatonin-for-kids discussion is that parents are so afraid to admit they use it! It’s as if we are knocking our kids out with some hardcore street drug we bought from Jimmy on the corner. It’s fuckin melatonin! It naturally exists in our bodies! We aren’t giving them something they don’t already have. Kids need sleep, and parents need a break. It’s a win-win.
Many articles you come across will talk about “sleep hygiene”. Only a real asshole uses this term in my opinion. It’s really just an annoying way of saying “give the kid a bath, read the kid a book, and snuggle with them until they fall asleep”. I do all of these things, and since my child does not have a diagnosed sleep disorder, this routine typically works. Melatonin is for those nights where my daughter is just too clean and her sleep hygiene needs a little extra scrub.
Here are a few of the articles/literature I’ve come across in my research that I thought were the most beneficial. Check them out if you want, and if you don’t want to but want to keep giving your kid melatonin, then do that too. That’s the best part of parenting- we can do whatever the fuck we want.
- The one from Boston Children’s Hospital which is the most cohesive and succinct one in my opinion.
- The one from the Dr. at Yale so you know it’s legit
- The one that is an actual study-ish (You need a subscription to read the entire article which I have because of school, but unfortunately they wouldn’t let me share my account info which I just find rude and shady).
- The one that reviews several studies on the subject (Same issue with the subscription situation but if you really want to read the entire study I can break the rules and send the full text just don’t go snitchin’).
And because this is a post about sleeping, I found some old pictures of Mads snoozin. Unsure if any of these were melatonin-induced but theres a good chance at least one was.
What are your thoughts about melatonin and kids? Do you use it or are you not into it? Comment below and share your thoughts!