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Keywords:

  • elderly;
  • melatonin;
  • actigraphy;
  • circadian rhythm;
  • rest-activity;
  • cognition;
  • mood

Abstract: The effects of immediate-release melatonin on circadian rest-activity profiles, cognition, and mood were investigated in ten elderly individuals with self-reported sleep-wake disturbances. Melatonin (6 mg), administered 2 hr before habitual bedtime, enhanced the rest-activity rhythm and improved sleep quality as observed in a reduction in sleep onset latency and in the number of transitions from sleep to wakefulness. However, total sleep time was not significantly increased nor was wake within sleep significantly reduced. The ability to remember previously learned items improved along with a significant reduction in depressed moods. No side effects or contraindications were reported by any of our participants during the 10 day trials. These data suggest that melatonin can safely improve some aspects of sleep, memory, and mood in the elderly in short-term use.