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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 Jan;96(1):50-8. Epub 2003 Sep 5.

Caffeine or melatonin effects on sleep and sleepiness after rapid eastward transmeridian travel.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Institut de Médecine Aérospatiale du Service de Santé des Armées, Brétigny sur Orge, Cedex, France.


We measured the effects of slow-release caffeine (SRC) and melatonin (Mlt) on sleep and daytime sleepiness after a seven-time zone eastbound flight. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, each of three groups of nine subjects was given either 300 mg SRC on recovery day 1 (D1) to D5 (0800) or 5 mg Mlt on preflight D-1 (1700), flight day D0 (1600), and from D1 to D3 (2300), or placebo (Pbo) at the same times. Nighttime sleep was evaluated by polysomnography and daytime sleepiness from measurements of sleep latencies and continuous wrist actigraphy. Compared with baseline, we found a significant rebound of slow-wave sleep on night 1 (N1) to N2 under Pbo and Mlt and a significant decrease in rapid eye movement sleep on N1 (Pbo) and N1-N3 (Mlt). Sleepiness was objectively increased under Pbo (D1-D6) and Mlt (D1-D3). SRC reduced sleepiness but also tended to affect sleep quality until the last drug day. In conclusion, both drugs have positive effects on some jet lag symptoms after an eastbound flight: SRC on daytime sleepiness, and Mlt on sleep.

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