Effects of exogenous melatonin on sleep quality in healthy college students

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1999


Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology


This study· investigated the effects of melatonin on the sleep quality of healthy college students with aerobic exercise as a covariate, using a single-factor, repeated measures design. Twenty-seven students ( 11 men and 16 women) were administered either 6 mg of melatonin or a physically identical placebo over a period of 6 nights. These participants, age 18-22, were prescreened for unstable sleeping patterns and excessive intake of sleep-altering substances. Each morning, participants rated the previous night's sleep and the previous day's exercise activities on a sleep and exercise questionnaire. Findings indicate that certain components of sleep quality, including the ease of falling asleep and the depth and continuity of sleep, significantly improved (p < .05) in the melatonin condition. However; subjective ratings of overall sleep quality and the psychological aspects of post-sleep experiences showed no significant improvement. This pattern implies that melatonin may have a limited effect among a healthy population that is not chronically sleep deprived.

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