Lack of sleep, insomnia and other sleep disturbances are common in children with autism spectrum disorders, and a new study recently set out to determine whether melatonin could help.
The study found that children with autism spectrum disorders such as autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome and other pervasive developmental disorders had abnormally low levels of melatonin. The researchers found that by administering melatonin, sleep duration increased by an average of 73 minutes and it took 66 fewer minutes to fall asleep in the first place.
Even more intriguing (but perhaps unsurprisingly), researchers found that children who took melatonin at night were better behaved the following day.
Although this study does sound encouraging, please don't start administering melatonin to your child (or yourself) without speaking to your doctor first.
Last updated: June 7, 2011