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Brain Res. 1984 Dec 10;323(2):201-7.

Effects of melatonin on human mood and performance.


The function of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland primarily at night, has not been definitively established in humans. To determine if pharmacologic doses of melatonin had any behavioral effects it was administered acutely to 14 healthy men. Their mood, performance, memory and visual sensitivity were assessed. Plasma melatonin concentration was assayed as well. Melatonin significantly decreased self-reported alertness and increased sleepiness as measured by the Profile of Mood States and the Stanford Sleepiness Scale self-report mood questionnaires. The effects were brief. Melatonin also affected performance, slowing choice-reaction time but concurrently decreasing errors of commission. Sustained fine motor performance was not impaired after melatonin administration nor were the tests of memory and visual sensitivity that were administered. It is concluded that melatonin, administered orally in pharmacological quantities, has significant but short acting sedative-like properties.

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