With the Daylight Savings time change right around the corner, I thought I’d take some time to share about how melatonin has benefitted my family. My son is an awful sleeper. Really, really awful. So awful that when parents tried to commiserate with me about how it took them a whole hour to get their kid to sleep the previous night, I’d nearly lose it. For five years straight I spent 3-4 hours every single night trying to get my son to sleep. I tried every trick in the book: rocking, nursing, cosleeping, sleeping alone, soothing routines, get-all-your-energy-out routines, earlier bedtimes, later bedtimes, warm baths, stories, noise machines, music, games, bribes… you name it, I tried it. Nothing worked. He almost never fell asleep before midnight. Every once in a while I’d get him to sleep an hour or so earlier for a few days, and inevitably something like changing the clocks forward or back would disrupt our slight progress and throw him off again. Mornings were always stressful and rushed if we had to be anywhere before noon time. He was overtired, uncooperative, cranky, and oppositional due to lack of sleep. I was frustrated and felt that I was failing as a parent, unable to ensure that one of his most basic needs was met. We often both fell asleep crying.
I had heard quite a bit about melatonin, but I was reluctant to give my small, growing child something with hormones, even if they were “natural.” But finally, after five long years, I had reached my breaking point. Neither of us were happy; we were spending 25% of our waking hours fighting about bedtime, and the other 75% dreading it! I started reading countless studies on melatonin use in children and adults, and found no serious dangers. Occasional side effects included headaches, nightmares, dizziness, stomach aches, irritability, and daytime grogginess — nothing worse than what we were already experiencing in our chronically sleep-deprived state! So one morning, after a particularly stressful overnight spent babysitting and trying unsuccessfully to get my child to at least lay down and be quiet so as not to wake the other three children, I decided to buy some melatonin.
You know how in movies when something long-awaited and wonderful finally happens, the main character sings out in joy and relief while the whole screen is lit up with a white light and a choir of angels descends from heaven, trumpets playing in the background? That was my reaction to my son’s first night taking melatonin. Within half an hour he was asleep. That was it. No crying, no fighting, no tricks, no struggles, just pure, blissful sleep. The excitement on his face was priceless when he woke up in the morning and realized the melatonin had worked. Even he had been fed up with not sleeping.
It has been months since that first night with melatonin, and virtually every night has gone wonderfully. I give him his melatonin at 8:45 and he is asleep before 9:30. He wakes up in the morning at a reasonable time, rested, refreshed, happy, and cooperative. We have had several nights sleeping away from home — at hotels or babysitting other kids — and although it sometimes takes him a few extra minutes to settle down, he is always asleep within about an hour. He has started to look forward to going to bed and we have a peaceful, enjoyable routine.
As if that weren’t enough, during my obsessive research, I discovered that it seems to hold a lot of promise for preventing hormonally-mediated cancers and reducing recurrences. Many studies showed melatonin had positive effects on tumors. As a breast cancer survivor, I am always on the lookout for anything natural that will increase my chances of long-term survival. I decided to begin taking melatonin myself, and the improvement in my sleep has been great. I’ve suffered from lifelong insomnia and never wanted to take prescription sleeping pills. Most nights I am now falling asleep easily and getting 8-10 hours of sleep. Sleep plus cancer-fighting benefits seems almost too good to be true!
Nourishing World offers a great, high-quality melatonin supplement in a convenient spray. Mercola Melatonin Sleep Support Spray contains melatonin in its most bioavailable form, and is safe for adults and children. Melatonin Sleep Support is great for adjusting to disruptions in sleep cycles, such as Daylight Savings Time changes, shift work, or jet lag. It also works well for getting to sleep earlier on those occasions when you need to get up earlier than usual. Additionally, melatonin may help if you have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, visual impairment, narcolepsy, advanced sleep phase disorder, or any other syndrome that affects your internal body clock. In children, melatonin is often used for sleep problems associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, autism, epilepsy, or psychiatric illnesses. It has certainly worked wonders for us! As always, consult your doctor before beginning this or any other supplement.