Melatonin: The Pink Elephant

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.


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.


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Couldn’t not snap a pic when she fell asleep with face paint on.

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I love this picture because it was after a full day of camp/the playground last summer and she fell asleep in the middle of coloring. 

What are your thoughts about melatonin and kids? Do you use it or are you not into it? Comment below and share your thoughts!

19 thoughts on “Melatonin: The Pink Elephant

  1. I wish I had known about melatonin back in the day because I was one of those moms who whipped out the eye dropper and the Benedryl here and there…sorrynotsorry…and to be honest, really only had sleep issues with one out of three kids…who to this day at 16 years old still has sleep issues. My son (23) fell asleep at the drop of a hat, anywhere, anytime and my other daughter (20) has always been a full night’s sleep-er. Sorry for going granny–anyway, there’s no shame in the melatonin game. That’s what it’s there for, and you certainly sound smart enough to know not to overdo it 🙂 PS your blog’s a riot.

    1. Thank you Daneen for reading this and sharing your own experiences! Benadryl is always a good option! You’re so right that sometimes a kid just needs to get some sleep and we parents have to help them- jn any way we can!

  2. What brand do you use?! One tab no longer has any effect and I’m dying! Help another mama out! Haha! But seriously I don’t get why kids fight the whole sleep thing because I regret not taking those naps! I’m a melatonin mama and love it more when it worlds !

    1. I don’t have a specific type but I do like “Natures Bounty” one that is sold at CVS. I’m not too picky! The capsules are cool because you can open them up and take out as much as you want so you aren’t hit with a ton, unless you want more! I’m with you on the nap thing- just take the fuckin nap cause I need one too!

  3. I have the worst anxiety falling asleep and I have to take Meletonin every night…. the maximum strength! My whole family even the kids take it because we all have high anxiety and some ADD so settling down is the worst… no matter how exhausted we are. I personally love it but my whole family calls the dreams you have that night “Meletonin Dreams” because we have all dreamed the weirdest stuff on Meletonin.

    1. I have to take it too! That’s so funny about the dreaming part- I’m gonna see if my daughter has any weird dreams next time I give her some!

  4. Great topic for Mums. I personally use it as an adult and considering our bodies produce it, would feel comfortable in giving it in moderation as needed to a child.

  5. I appreciate your sense of humor in your writing! We give our kids melatonin. Two of my kids are on ADHD medication and if they get it too late in the morning they will have a hard time going to sleep on their own.

    1. Thank you Nancy! Just trying to lighten the mood around these parts. I have read that melatonin is really great for kids with ADHD and a total lifesaver for their parents 🙂

  6. Personally, I think to each their own. If you wanna use it, use it. If not, then don’t. I didn’t hear about melatonin until I went off to college. I’ve only used it once, as I usually don’t have a problem falling asleep. I don’t see a problem giving it to kids, as it is a safe and natural substance.

  7. When the time changed this Spring and “The sun is still awake so *I* have to be awake!” started, I bought Melatonin. It helps tremendously. And they’re in the Gummie form, too. About an hour before bedtime is when I usually can tell if she’s too wired and needs a “sleepy vitamin”. Within 15 minutes she’s out. And some nights mama needs one, too. Or a nice big glass of red wine.

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