Melatonin (Mel-a-ton-in) is a natural hormone and neurotransmitter produced in the brain by the pineal gland.
However, patients who are diagnosed with FACS or are on the Autistic Spectrum don’t produce enough Melatonin naturally which is why they have trouble getting to sleep. Melatonin is important in controlling your body clock. By activating certain types of chemical receptors in the brain Melatonin encourages sleep. Because of these effects Melatonin can help people who have insomnia.
For children who need to be prescribed Melatonin, this is usually prescribed by the child’s Paeditrician. Once it has been prescribed if your GP accepts “shared care” it can then be carried on being prescribed from your GP. If Your GP will not accept shared care the prescription will have to come from your Paediatrician.
For children with Autism having limited sleep can exasperate the child and in many ways have a negative impact. They will become irritable, emotional and show lack of concentration.
My son who has a diagnosis of FACS/Autism his bedtime usually starts around 8:00 . He would go to bed and still be awake gone 12:00 in the morning. He would literally lie awake for hours on end tossing , turning, getting up out of bed. Then come the morning, he would be waking up in a mood, as he was so tired. I took him to his routine appointment with his Paediatrician and explained this to him and he prescribed 2mg of Melatonin. Since then his sleep pattern is a lot better. The 1st night of him taking it watching him fall asleep on the sofa was great as he had never ever done this before. Within half an hour of him taking his medication he is very sleepy and finally goes to sleep.
If any parents are experiencing trouble with sleep, speak about Melatonin with your Paeditrician