The effects of skin pressure by clothing on circadian rhythms of core temperature and salivary melatonin

Chronobiol Int. 2000 Nov;17(6):783-93. doi: 10.1081/cbi-100102114.


The present experiment investigated the effects of skin pressure by foundation garments (girdle and brassiere) on the circadian rhythms of core temperature and salivary melatonin. Ten healthy females (18-23 years) maintained regular sleep-wake cycles for a week prior to participation in the experiment. The experiments were performed from June to August 1999 using a bioclimatic chamber controlled at 26.5 degrees C +/- 0.2 degrees C and 62% +/- 3% RH. Ambient light intensity was controlled at 500 lux from 07:30 to 17:30, 100 lux from 17:30 to 19:30, 20 lux from 19:30 to 23:30; there was total darkness from 23:30 to 07:30. The experiment lasted for 58h over three nights. The participants arose at 07:30 on the first full day and retired at 23:30, adhering to a set schedule for 24h, but without wearing foundation garments. For the final 24h of the second full day, the subjects wore foundation garments. Rectal and leg skin temperatures were measured continuously throughout the experiment. Saliva and urine were collected every 4h for the analysis of melatonin and catecholamines, respectively. Skin pressure applied by the foundation garments was in the range 11-17 gf/cm2 at the regions of the abdomen, hip, chest, and back. The main results were as follows: (1) Rectal temperatures were significantly higher throughout the day and night when wearing foundation garments. (2) The nocturnal level of salivary melatonin measured at 03:30 was 115.2 +/- 40.4 pg/mL (mean +/- SEM, N = 10) without and 51.3 +/- 18.4 pg/mL (mean +/- SEM, N = 10) with foundation garments. (3) Mean urinary noradrenaline excretion was significantly lower throughout the day and night when wearing foundation garments (p < .05), but mean urinary adrenaline excretion was not different. The results suggest that skin pressure by clothing could markedly suppress the nocturnal elevation of salivary melatonin, resulting in an increase of rectal temperature.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Clothing
  • Epinephrine / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Norepinephrine / urine
  • Pressure
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Skin Temperature / physiology


  • Melatonin
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine