21 July 2011

Conclusion

My conclusion is that five year olds are all over the map in terms of sleep, but that at 9-10 hours/night with no nap, mine are on the low end of a pretty wide range. I probably didn't need an informal survey to tell me that, but it's nice to have anecdotal data to support my totally unscientific hypothesis.

I'm sure this is controversial—what parenting decision isn't?—but tonight I decided to try giving Maddie and Riley a dose of melatonin a few hours before bed. Mads struggles to fall asleep as of late, and Riley has issues with staying asleep, and my (somewhat limited) research showed that melatonin seems to help with both of those problems. All indications I read are that it's safe and, if anything, might have some positive qualities in addition to promoting better sleep. We'll see. I'll give it a week or so and report back.

I went to the Seattle area for a day for work earlier this week and spent some of the bus ride—the part before I got carsick*—making a list of various things I'd like to blog about. It's long and pretty diverse. The thing I'm selfishly most excited to write about is, uh, selfishness. Go figure. That's right up there with work/life balance and electronic consumption of media v. traditional formats. For now, though, I'm going to bed early, gearing up for a weekend on Mt. Hood at a friend's condo.

*As a kid, I never got carsick. I remember reading in the backseat of the car (no seatbelt, natch) for hours, and I've always loved spinny rides. Nowadays, thank goodness for GPS because I can't even be a front-seat navigator in charge of map reading without getting queasy, and just looking at a spinning merry-go-round makes me want to hurl. Ugh. What's up with that?

14 comments:

Tigger said...

My best friend has been known to give her two kids (6 & 3) low doses of melatonin and it's worked wonders for them. She doesn't do it often, because they don't have trouble often, but she does use it. Docs say it's safe, and there's been no downsides thus far! Good luck and I hope it works for you!

Christie said...

I can read in the car but those round clothes racks that spin make me want to vomit. I go into a store with one (or many) of those, and I head right back out the door.

I'm also very curious to read how the melatonin works with the kids as I've considered giving it to Hen. (I was planning on asking his pediatrician her thoughts at his next appointment.) Hen can't wind down - he openly resists it on those rare occasions when he mentions anything related to being sleepy - but once he falls asleep he's fine. No variation of the traditional sleep routine seems to have any impact, either. Here's hoping it works for you!

Jeanette said...

I heard that melatonin has a very short half-life, so should be taken right before lying down for bed. Very short = six to ten minutes. Good luck!

Anna said...

Julia (http://julia.typepad.com/julia/2011/07/miss-mannered.html) just mentioned that melatonin has helped her 7/8-ish yo. Good luck!

Sara said...

There is a melatonin product at Trader Joes (I think that's where) that is peppermint and chewable. Give it, brush teeth, bedtime - has worked well for me. Good luck!!

eba said...

hope the melatonin helps. I took it regularly for a couple of years and... it worked until it stopped working in a most horrible way - it made my insomnia *worse*. Now that I've been off it for a while, I'm afraid to go back on.

Solitary Diner said...

Looking forward to reading some of those posts on things like selfishness and work/life balance - two things that I struggle with on a regular basis! Also, although I have no kids to report on, I have used melatonin myself quite a few times and had a good response to it with no apparent side effects. Hope it helps you.

liz smith said...

I get car sick and motion sick now too. I think its an age related thing. ; {

Anonymous said...

Another recommendation to give the melatonin within 20 minutes of bedtime -- it works fast. My 8 year old turns weepy/cranky if she gets it too far ahead of time and it starts working before she is solidly in bed.

CV said...

I always got car sick when I was a kid. And I'm so grateful that I rarely have to sit in the backseat of a car now.

But.. I used to be able to swing at the playground without feeling ill.. now I can barely look at someone swinging withough puking in my mouth a little.

So I guess it does get worse with age.

:)

Amy said...

If the sleep stuff started happening with the longer days, it's probably just a big reset of the circadian rhythm. Don't worry. The dark, dreary months of winter are coming fast. There's a reason PDX has a caffeine dispensary on every corner.

Paula said...

While melatonin can work wonders, know that for some people it causes nightmares.

Crash Course Widow said...

Charley's sister started giving her kids (or at least the older one) melatonin in the last year or so, because he would NOT fall asleep and/or one of the boys would keep the other awake (they share a room and are ~2 1/2 years apart). They might even do it daily, but I don't know for sure. So trust me, you're not the only one. My brother-in-law also takes it to help him sleep easier during the day because he works a graveyard shift, and my pharmacist sister suggested melatonin to me when I could not sleep, no matter what I tried or took, during one stressful, anxiety-ridden, overwhelming week back a bit before the first death anniversary. It didn't help me at all, but I only tried it one night and I think I was beyond the point where nothing but a full-blown, knock-you-out kind of pharmaceutical would help. (Got a prescription for Ativan and Ambien from my doc a day or two later, which did help. Gotta love grief in that first year….)

And you know, having happy, healthy kids who are better able to cope with things because they're better rested, even if it takes a vitamin supplement to do it, sounds like a good enough reason to me. If it helps the situation, helps you cope with single parenting to twins, and there are no lasting side effects, why not use it?

Good luck, my friend!

Cookies said...

Thank you for very good blog about Exersaucers. It's very nice.