Question: Melatonin for ADHD?

Melatonin Room

Does melatonin improve sleep pattern in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Adam is an 8 year old boy with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who you see with his mother in your paediatric outpatient clinic. She explains that life is being made increasingly stressful for the whole family as Adam is having difficulty getting off to sleep. It often takes him several hours to calm down and go to sleep, and the day after he gets angry and seems to be tired all the time. She has seen a recent TV programme that suggested that melatonin may be helpful for children with ADHD.
Are the television producers correct? If melatonin is prescribed for Adam, will it be harmful or helpful in improving his sleep?

Sarah Snowden, SpR inYorkshire, has asked this question and searched for a good quality answer. Melatonin certainly seems to help people go to sleep, in my experience, but so does a warm malted milk drink, and watching Neighbours. Is Melatonin any better than placebo, or a homeopathic tablet?

As always, comments and debate welcome.

Acknowledgement. Image taken from Phillipe Rahm’s architectural exhibition – a room designed to stimulte maximum endogenous melatonin production. Visit here to read more.

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