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Sleep Med. 2010 Feb;11(2):131-6. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.07.013. Epub 2009 Dec 30.

Antidepressant action of melatonin in the treatment of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.

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Sleep Research Laboratory, University Health Network, Toronto, Ont., Canada.



Depression is a common problem in patients with Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS). This study used a randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled approach to test the hypothesis that exogenous melatonin (5mg) can attenuate depressive symptomatology in DSPS patients.


Twenty patients with an established diagnosis of DSPS were dichotomized into DSPS with depressive symptoms (Group I; n=8) and without depressive symptoms (Group II; n=12) based on structured clinical interviews and a score greater than 17 on Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Both groups received melatonin and placebo treatment for 4 weeks with a 1-week washout period in between. Participants underwent a clinical interview and psychometric evaluation to assess depression, and overnight polysomnographic sleep studies were carried out at baseline and at the end of melatonin and placebo treatments. Furthermore, melatonin secretion rhythm as a circadian phase marker was assessed by measuring urinary 6-sulphatoxymelatonin levels.


Melatonin treatment significantly reduced depression scores in the depressed patients as measured by the CES-D and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale--17. Melatonin treatment improved sleep continuity in both groups compared to placebo and baseline conditions. Group I individuals showed marked alterations in melatonin rhythms compared to Group II individuals.


Exogenous melatonin treatment may be an effective treatment modality for individuals with circadian rhythm sleep disorders and associated comorbid depressive symptomatology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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