This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of melatonin in treating insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Comprehensive searches were conducted in the PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases from their inception to April 20, 2022. Data were extracted and assessed for quality by two researchers. Statistical analysis was performed using the Stata 15.0 software.
Four studies including 238 patients were included. The results showed that compared with the control group, melatonin could shorten the sleep-onset latency (standardized mean difference [SMD] = - 1.34, 95% CI: -2.19 to -0.48), reduce the number of awakenings (SMD = -2.35, 95% CI: -4.62 to -0.08), and prolong the total sleep time (SMD = 1.42, 95% CI: 0.5-2.33) in children with ASD.
Melatonin has a certain effect on relieving sleep disturbances in children with ASD, which can shorten sleep latency, reduce the number of awakenings, and prolong total sleep time. Larger studies are required to verify this hypothesis.
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