- Melatonin and sleep effects on health, behavior problems and parenting stress
- Sleep and Biological Rhythms
- Volume | Issue number
- 9 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
In children with sleep-onset insomnia and delayed dim-light melatonin onset, melatonin treatment not only improves sleep but also health, behavior and parenting stress. The aim of the present study was to see whether the latter effects are dependent on the direct effects on sleep. Data come from 41 children (24 boys, 17 girls; mean age = 9.43 years). They entered melatonin treatment (1-5 mg per day) for three weeks, then discontinued treatment by first taking a half dose for one week, and then stopped completely for another week. Sleep was measured with sleep diaries filled in by parents and with actometers. We found a positive effect of actual sleep duration on health but this disappeared after discontinuing treatment. We also found that melatonin treatment decreased behavior problems, which effect appeared to be stronger for children with an earlier dim-light melatonin onset. These results show that the melatonin effects on health and behavior problems may partly be dependent on sleep.
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