Melatonin may ease insomnia in autistic children

Melatonin may ease insomnia in autistic childrenOver-the-counter melatonin can shorten the length of time it takes for children with autistic spectrum disorder to fall asleep, according to a new study.

Scientists from the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento determined that in children who received melatonin treatments 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.

“Sleep onset problems at the beginning of the night are very troublesome for children and their families,” says Dr. Beth L. Goodlin-Jones of the M.I.N.D Institute at the University of California Davis Health System.

“Sometimes children may take one to two hours to fall asleep and often they disrupt the household during this time,” she adds.

She also said research indicates melatonin health supplements benefit children of all ages, helping alleviate some of the additional stress facing parents of special-needs children.

Melatonin has also been shown to help restore normal circadian rhythm in those who travel through different time zones.