Certain medications may interfere with sleep and if this is something that worries you, or if you think this might be a cause of your child’s sleep problems, talk to your consultant or GP.
Melatonin is a synthesised version of a hormone that our body produces to help us fall asleep and is licensed for prescription to adults in the UK. Families report melatonin as an aid in helping their child to get to sleep but, as yet, there is little scientific research into its success or long term effects. It is always best to talk to your GP about all the options available to you in terms of medication.
‘The main treatments available for children and young people with sleep disorders are non-drug treatments, including good 'sleep hygiene'. Good sleep hygiene includes day-to-day things that can be done at home to help children and young people sleep.’ (NICE advice [ESUOM2]).
This information is aimed at families of children with autism and looks at how families can help their child to sleep well. The information applies generally to good habits about sleep.
As well as information about good sleep habits, there's a section on Medication just over half way down the page.
This information explains the evidence summary about the unlicensed and off-label use of melatonin to improve sleep for children and young people. The summary does not contain recommendations from NICE on whether the medicine should be used.
The Sleep Service at Sheffield Children's Hospital sees children and young people who have severe sleep problems and are one of just a few specialist paediatric sleep services in the UK. They have produced a number of advice leaflets which can be found on the sleep service webpage, including Unlicensed Medicines-melatonin.