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Neurosci Lett. 1996 Apr 5;207(3):209-13.

Daytime melatonin administration enhances sleepiness and theta/alpha activity in the waking EEG.

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Chronobiology and Sleep Laboratory, Psychiatric University Clinic, Basel, Switzerland.


It is still controversial whether the pineal hormone melatonin can be characterized as a hypnotic. We therefore measured subjective sleepiness and waking EEG power density in the range of 0.25-20 Hz after a single dose of melatonin (5 mg). During an 8 h mini-constant routine protocol, melatonin administered in a double blind cross-over design to healthy young men at 1300 h or 1800 h increased subjective sleepiness, as rated half-hourly on three different scales (Visual Analogue Scale, Akerstedt Sleepiness Symptoms Check List, Akerstedt Sleepiness Scale) and objective fatigue as evidenced by augmented waking EEG power density in the theta/alpha range (5.25-9 Hz). The increase in subjective sleepiness reached significance 40 min and 90 min after melatonin administration (at 1300 h and 1800 h, respectively) and lasted for 3 h (at 1300 h) and 5 h (at 1800 h). The increase in the theta/alpha frequencies of the waking EEG occurred immediately after melatonin ingestion and stayed significantly higher parallel to the higher sleepiness ratings. However, the EEG changes appeared before the subjective symptoms of sleepiness became manifest. There was a significant correlation between salivary melatonin levels and the timing of increased subjective sleepiness. Melatonin had no effects on mood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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