I hadn’t planned to blog on this topic tonight, there was another one in the schedule. But sometimes the stars align and we experience a massive parenting #fail, which deserves to be blogged about! You see, we have run out of melatonin.
I told you.
I have been singing its praises and now I clearly remember why. Poss is tossing and turning in bed, having been there for over an hour and a half. I know it’s that not long, but trust me when I say it will be the tip of the iceberg tonight. She is hyped, tense, flappy and stressed and is demanding her ‘meddy’.
And I can’t give it to her. Because we don’t have it.
For those of you who don’t know what melatonin is, or why we use it, here are my top 5 things you need to know…
1. I am not a doctor. I know melatonin is available over the counter, but we have it on prescription and it is made up by a compounding pharmacist. This means we have it noted in her medical files that she is using it, and if at any point we have any concerns, we have a professional on hand who can answer our questions. So, while I offer these suggestions, it’s purely from a parents perspective, not a medical professionals one.
2. It’s effectively a hormone replacement. You can read more about the technical/medical definition here, but from my research it is safer than other ‘medical/pharmaceutical’ options for non-sleeping available, with few known side effects (although longer term, clinical studies are still to be completed in children).
3. There are studies to show that there is a link between people on the Autism Spectrum and a lack of melatonin in their bodies. For those who experience this, it directly effects their sleep patterns, meaning the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep is compromised. This can result in a huge increase in stress levels and anxiety surrounding bedtime, which of course, decreases the ability to fall asleep.
4. Despite these links and our years of sleep issues, Poss’ paediatrician insisted that our psychologist teach Poss self-calming techniques, (along with the techniques we supplement from her OT), before she would consider prescribing melatonin. Those are skills Poss will always have, and we are using those strategies on nights like tonight, when we #fail and are left without it.
5. She now sleeps. And not only sleeps, is asleep within 15-20 minutes on average and most nights she sleeps through. From where we were, this is a HUGE improvement. HUGE. And as a result, she functions, she copes and is generally more pleasant to be around.
If your kids are on the spectrum, do you use melatonin? I would love to hear about your experiences with it.
Have you ever failed like us? Please tell me you have… it will make me feel better!