My boys have been taking Melatonin for almost 3 years. We started J on it because he would go to bed at a reasonable time and then wake up every 2 hours and be awake for the day at 6am. Little J was taking 2 or 3 hours to get to sleep and then would be awake by 6am for the day. Neither of these schedules worked for me.
Over the summer, Little J started falling asleep a few nights a week before the meds were given out for the night and sleeping all night. Yes he was still getting up between 6 and 7am but he was sleeping for 9-10 hours. So over the past month I have been weaning him off of it. He has been off Melatonin for about 2 weeks and he is doing fine. He goes to sleep when I say it is bedtime and most school days I am dragging him out of bed at 6:40am. This week on fall break he has gotten up earlier than that but he is good about grabbing a cereal bar from the fridge and then entertaining himself in his room.
J on the other hand did not sleep well at all this summer. There were several days a week where he was waking up between 3 and 4 in the morning and staying awake for the day. I tried upping the melatonin and this didn’t seem to create a pattern of better sleeping. Some days it seemed like it worked and other days he would be up just as early. So I backed it down again. One of the things I was noticing was that he was waking up really hungry at that time. So we started a bedtime snack. This seems to help. He is still waking up in the wee hours of the night, but now he is getting in bed with me and going back to sleep until it is time to get up. While this is not ideal, I’d rather him in my bed asleep than running around the house or in the backyard and creating an over tired monster that everyone has to deal with later in the day (well 2 monsters cause I don’t do well with no sleep either.) Besides, if I’m not up all night trying to get him back to his room and he is in bed cuddling…all sorts of good feelings are created instead of bad.