Melatonin an effective treatment for sleep problems in children with autism

Poor sleep patterns affect up 89% of children with autism and 77% of children with Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and are very disruptive both for the children and their families.

However, a new study by the MIND Institute at the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento that gave children over-the-counter melatonin treatments improved the length of time they slept by 21 minutes and the length of time it took for them to get to sleep by 42 minutes. The number of times they woke during the night was unchanged.

The study included 12 children between two and 15, five of whom met diagnostic criteria for autism, four for FXS and three for FXS and autism. The children were given two weeks' supply of either 3mg melatonin per night or a placebo. After they completed the two weeks they were then crossed over to the alternative treatment for an additional two weeks.

Ed. You cannot buy melatonin over the counter in the UK although there are numerous on-line suppliers.
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First Published in July 2009

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