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Can Melatonin Cure Autistic Children?

A 24 hour cycle that regulates the physiological process in all living creatures including plants, humans, animals and fungi is called circadian rhythm. This biological clock regulates our hours of sleep and wakefulness.   The rhythm is deeply associated with molecular oscillations within the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus. Disruption in this rhythm can lead to number of pathological conditions like Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, jet lag, baby colic, depression and autism.

Bad circadian clock can cause autism

How Does Bad Circadian Clock Cause Autism?

Sleep disorders is commonly found in children with autism. Autism is a severe disorder of the brain function that may result in limited social interactions, troubles in communication and marginal activities and interests. According to the findings, autism can result when an individual’s circadian oscillator is unable to understand the social and environmental cues. ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is associated with low melatonin levels. Moreover the gene that synthesizes melatonin is said to be autism ‘predisposition’ factor. A close association has already been found between the circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. Secretion of melatonin at night reduces the body’s temperature that brings sleep. Irregularity in melatonin releases results from a disrupted circadian clock that causes sleep disorders. Thus sleep disorders may be seen in autistics.

Can Melatonin Fix Autism?

According to findings, administration of melatonin can helps sleep deprived autistics to fall asleep early. It can also be given to children as it brings good outcome with minimal side effects. However, melatonin may not help in all kinds of sleep disorders associated with autism. An analysis of recovery processes in autistic children infers that most children showed sign of sleep improvements as early as within two weeks to six months after being on melatonin. But some side effects of melatonin were also reported. Cases of seizures increased along with reports of morning sleepiness and bedwetting. Whether melatonin can cure autism remains a factor that is yet to be speculated and therefore requires more research, but it will surely help to remedy the symptom of sleep deprivation in children. They sleep well subsequently giving relief to their family also. It is well-tolerated by the minors. But all this should be done under the supervision of a physician.

Insomnia: a symptom of autism

Final Words on Melatonin for Autism

I hope this article on melatonin as a cure for autistic kids was helpful in busting the myth associated with the notion. Melatonin can surely help sleep deprived autistic children to get sound sleep but it will not cure the disease itself.