Use of Melatonin in the Treatment of Phase Shift and Sleep Disorders

  • Debra J. Skene
  • Steven W. Lockley
  • Josephine Arendt
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 467)


When administered to humans the pineal hormone melatonin can phase shift a number of circadian rhythms. This property has prompted the investigation of exogenous melatonin in sleep disorders known to have an underlying chronophysiological basis (i.e. circadian rhythm sleep disorders). Both in field and simulated studies of jet lag and shift work suitably timed melatonin improved sleep and, in some cases, hastened readaptation of the circadian rhythms following the phase shift. Melatonin treatment has also been evaluated in the circadian sleep disorders: delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) and non-24-hour sleep wake disorder. Compared with placebo, melatonin advanced the sleep period in subjects with DSPS. Melatonin also improved a number of sleep parameters in blind subjects suffering from non-24-hour sleep wake disorder.


Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder Melatonin Treatment Blind Subject Melatonin Administration 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debra J. Skene
    • 1
  • Steven W. Lockley
    • 1
  • Josephine Arendt
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SurreyGuildford, SurreyUK

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