Melatonin and the reduction or alleviation of stress

J Pineal Res. 1999 Sep;27(2):78-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-079x.1999.tb00600.x.


In a double blind and placebo controlled study designed to investigate the effect of melatonin administration at 13:00 hr on menstrual characteristics, prolactin, and premenstrual syndrome-like symptoms during simulated eastward travel, it was noted that melatonin reduces or alleviates the stress associated with the simulated travel. Bright lights were utilized to simulate eastward movement across six time zones. Melatonin (10 mg) was given to healthy females for 5 consecutive days during the late follicular and early luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. Hourly blood samples, used for analysis of melatonin and prolactin levels, were obtained for 24 hr before entering the dose administration phase of the study and again on the last dose day. Volunteers also completed a profile of moods state questionnaire upon waking on each of 8 days which overlapped the in-house dose administration days. The placebo group showed a prolactin peak at 13:00 hr (dose time) on the last dose day/blood draw, while the melatonin group showed a prolactin peak at 15:00 hr. The prolactin peak at 13:00 hr is likely the result of stress, since stress is known to elicit the release of prolactin. The peak at 15:00 hr in the melatonin group was likely elicited by the administration of melatonin. Stress reduction in the melatonin group was supported by results from the profile of moods state questionnaire. The melatonin group consistently demonstrated scores indicative of less stress.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / administration & dosage
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Menstruation / blood
  • Menstruation / drug effects
  • Menstruation / psychology
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / blood
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / psychology
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Stress, Physiological / blood
  • Stress, Physiological / drug therapy*
  • Stress, Physiological / psychology
  • Travel


  • Prolactin
  • Melatonin