Supplements & Medication for Sleep Disorders in Children

For some children and adolescents, behavioral strategies to improve sleep may not be effective on their own. Doctors at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone may recommend nutritional supplements to address conditions, such as delayed sleep phase syndrome and movement disorders, that interfere with sleep. They can be purchased over the counter at drugstores and used for as long as your child needs them. Your child’s doctor can advise you on the appropriate dosage.

Low-Dose Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the daily sleep–wake cycle. When taken by mouth in very low doses a few hours before bedtime, melatonin can help teens with hypersomnia due to delayed sleep phase syndrome to fall asleep without causing excessive sleepiness the next day.

Iron Supplementation

Children who have restless legs syndrome, a movement disorder that causes disruptive leg movements during periods of rest, often have low levels of iron. Our doctors may recommend an iron supplement to relieve mild symptoms of this condition.


Our doctors can offer advice about whether your child could benefit from prescription medication to treat sleep problems caused by neurological conditions, such as narcolepsy and restless legs syndrome. To reduce symptoms and improve sleep, our doctors may recommend low doses of antidepressants, sedatives, or stimulants.