Does melatonin improve sleep in older people? A randomised crossover trial

J. J. Baskett
2003 Age and Ageing  
Study objective: to determine whether melatonin will improve quality of sleep in healthy older people with age-related sleep maintenance problems. Design: a double blind randomised placebo controlled crossover trial in healthy older volunteers. Setting: a largely urban population, Auckland, New Zealand. Participants: participants were part of the larger Possible Role of Melatonin in Sleep of Elders study. People 65 years or more of age were recruited through widespread advertising. We screened
more » ... 14 potential participants by mail using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and selected 194 for clinic interview. Exclusions included depression, cognitive impairment, hypnosedative medications, sleep phase abnormalities, medical and/or environmental problems that might impair sleep. Twenty normal and 20 problem sleepers were randomly allocated for this study from a larger sample of 60 normal and 60 problem sleepers. Measurements and results: 24-hour urine 6-sulphatoxymelatonin was measured to estimate melatonin secretion in each participant. Five milligrams of melatonin, or matching placebo were each taken at bedtime for 4 weeks, separated by a 4-week washout period. Sleep quality was measured using sleep diaries, the Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire, and actigraphy. There was a significant difference between the groups in self-reported sleep quality indicators at entry, but no difference in melatonin secretion. Melatonin did not significantly improve any sleep parameter measured in either group. Conclusion: 5 mg of fast release melatonin taken at bedtime does not improve the quality of sleep in older people with age-related sleep maintenance problems.
doi:10.1093/ageing/32.2.164 pmid:12615559 fatcat:c67eepmiizfl7hfbcnlzyopexa