I saw this in The Stir - What are your thoughts on sleep aids for kids?
Have you ever found yourself exhausted because your little one kept waking up during the night or took forever to fall asleep? Or have you seen firsthand what lack of sleep looks like on a 4-year-old who can’t fall asleep before she passes out from sheer exhaustion at 11 p.m. only to wake up three more times before her official wake time at 7 a.m.? Have you ever been the parent driving around all over town at all hours of the night to get your toddler to sleep?
You're not alone. There are many parents who have been operating on limited sleep since their little ones were born, myself included. While I have insomnia, after a few days with no sleep for me or my kids, it’s almost too much to bear. What to do when you're going on eight years of little to no sleep? Collapse of exhaustion? Run off with the circus? Start eyeballing the Benadryl? Put a little whiskey on the binky? Maybe a little melatonin in the Sippy cup at bedtime?
I'd never consider Benadryl -- though I have heard other moms “joke” about it. It's a drug, and as a general rule, I try to steer clear of drugging my children. I’m sure you do too.
I've also balked at the whiskey on the binky suggestion, given to me by a random old woman I met in the pediatrician's office waiting room. Again, I try not to drug my children if at all possible.
But I do give my kids melatonin to help them sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep and it occurs naturally in our own bodies. It sounds pretty harmless and some pediatricians do give it the thumbs-up (others don't). So after careful consideration -- my kids need sleep and so do I -- I started giving it to them.
I've even started taking it myself.
After almost eight years of not having a full night of uninterrupted sleep, I was desperate. And melatonin works! Unlike when I’ve taken other prescription sleep aids, there is no "hangover" the next day. It seems almost too good to be true. And the truth is, all that being said, I don’t like to take risks with my children’s health. I'm wondering if my sleep-deprivation is making me rationalize this whole thing. What do you think?
Is melatonin a safe, natural miracle for parents who need sleep, or is it merely another way to drug a child?