Effects of melatonin on dream bizarreness among male and female college students

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Sleep and Hypnosis


Anecdotal reports suggest dreams become more vivid and bizarre while taking melatonin. However, the connection between melatonin and dream characteristics has not been empirically established. The present study investigated the effects of 6 mg of melatonin (versus a placebo) on dream bizarreness in twenty two college students (8 male, 14 female), ages 18-25. The experiment ran for two weeks in which participants received either melatonin or a placebo for six nights. Each morning, participants provided a narrative of their dreams and also used a 7-point scale to respond to 17 questions measuring aspects of dream bizarreness. Bizarreness ratings following melatonin nights were compared with those following placebo nights. It was hypothesized that ratings of dream bizarreness would be reliably higher following melatonin treatments and that women would show greater increases than men. The hypotheses were partially supported by significant results on several specific aspects of dream bizarreness, including "transformations of objects" and "overall transformations." Patterns differed for males and females, indicating that melatonin may, indeed, impact dreaming characteristics and participants sex must be considered when investigating such effects.