Melatonin for Sleep Problems in Children with Autism
Published : 2009-04-15 - Updated : 2010-07-12
Author : American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Synopsis* : Study shows autistic children who received over-the-counter melatonin treatments experienced significant improvements in sleep duration.
Main DigestResults of the study indicated that children who received over-the-counter melatonin treatments experienced significant improvements in total night sleep durations, sleep latency times, and sleep-onset times.
A study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine determined that over-the-counter melatonin medication can shorted the length of time it takes for children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), or both to fall asleep at the beginning of the night.
Results of the study indicated that children who received over-the-counter melatonin treatments experienced significant improvements in total night sleep durations, sleep latency times, and sleep-onset times. Mean sleep duration was longer on melatonin than placebo by 21 minutes, sleep-onset latency was shorter by 28 minutes and sleep-onset time was earlier by 42 minutes.
According to the senior author, Beth L. Goodlin-Jones, PhD of the M.I.N.D Institute at the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento, Calif., treatment with over-the-counter melatonin supplements benefits children of all ages, which helps alleviate some of the additional stress that parents of special-needs children experience.
"Sleep onset problems at the beginning of the night are very troublesome for children and their families," said Goodlin-Jones. "Sometimes children may take one to two hours to fall asleep and often they disrupt the household during this time."
Authors report that sleep problems are reported in up to 89 percent of children with autism and 77 percent of children with FXS, the most common form of inherited mental impairment ranging from learning problems to mental retardation, and also the most commonly known cause of autism. Dyssomnia (difficulty falling asleep and frequent nighttime awakenings) are among the most commonly reported problems. Researchers hypothesize that difficulty sleeping in these children is increased due to abnormal levels of melatonin, a natural hormone secreted from the pineal gland that is believed to promote sleep at night.
The study included information from 12 children between the ages of 2 to 15.25 years. Sleep quality and quantity were measured both objectively and subjectively. Five participants met diagnostic criteria for autism, 3 for FXS, 3 for FXS and ASD, and 1 for FXS alone.
Participants were given two weeks' supply of either melatonin or a placebo. After they completed the two week dosage they were then crossed over to the alternate treatment for an additional two weeks. All participants were assessed for autism and received DNA testing for the diagnosis of FXS.
Authors recommend that in addition to the use of over-the-counter melatonin supplements, behavior therapies and sleep hygiene practices should be used to manage sleep problems in children with autism and FXS.
Reference: More information about over-the-counter use of melatonin is available from the AASM for patients and the public at: sleepeducation.com/Article.aspxid=794
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM) contains published papers related to the clinical practice of sleep medicine, including original manuscripts such as clinical trials, clinical reviews, clinical commentary and debate, medical economic/practice perspectives, case series and novel/interesting case reports. In addition, the JCSM publishes proceedings from conferences, workshops and symposiums sponsored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine or other organizations related to improving the practice of sleep medicine
For a copy of the study, "The Efficacy of Melatonin for Sleep Problems in Children with Autism, Fragile X Syndrome, or Autism and Fragile X Syndrome," or to arrange an interview with an AASM spokesperson, please contact Kelly Wagner, AASM public relations coordinator, at (708) 492-0930, ext. 9331, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AASM is a professional membership organization dedicated to the advancement of sleep medicine and sleep-related research. As the national accrediting body for sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep related breathing disorders, the AASM promotes the highest standards of patient care. The organization serves its members and advances the field of sleep health care by setting the clinical standards for the field of sleep medicine, advocating for recognition, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, educating.
You're reading Disabled World. Be sure to check out our homepage for further informative disability news, reviews, disability sports events, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Related Autism Documents
- 1 - The Novel Coronavirus and Your Autistic Child : Dr. Lynette Louise offers tips to help relieve worry and ease health risks from COVID-19 when your child has autism.
- 2 - CARD Reacts to CDC Announcement of 15% Increase in Autism Rate : Autism Speaks state that the new numbers indicate a persistent undercount of autisms true prevalence among the nations children.
- 3 - Autism Prevalence Now Equals 1 in 59 American Children : Report published in CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Surveillance Summary shows about 1 in 59 eight year-old children in 11 communities across the United States identified as having autism in 2014.
- 4 - Worldwide Free Online Course About Autism : Autism course will run from April 30 to June 1, 2018, the workload is around 2 hours a week and can be undertaken on-demand, all participants will receive a certificate upon completion.
- 5 - Autism's Social Deficits Reversed by Romidepsin Anti-Cancer Drug : Using an epigenetic mechanism, romidepsin restored gene expression and alleviated social deficits in animal models of autism.
*Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World. View our Advertising Policy for further information. Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.
Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Electronic Publication Date: 2009-04-15 - Revised: 2010-07-12. Title: Melatonin for Sleep Problems in Children with Autism, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/autism/melatonin-autism-sleeping.php>Melatonin for Sleep Problems in Children with Autism</a>. Retrieved 2021-05-09, from https://www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/autism/melatonin-autism-sleeping.php - Reference: DW#293-1473.