The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of quetiapine, an atypical antipsychotic, on polysomnographic sleep structure and subjective sleep quality. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized cross-over study investigated the polysomnographic sleep structure and subjective sleep quality of 14 healthy male subjects given placebo, quetiapine 25 mg or quetiapine 100 mg. Volunteers were studied 3 times for 3 consecutive nights (N0, adaptation; N1, standard sleep conditions; N2, acoustic stress) 4 days apart. Treatment was administered orally 1 h before bedtime on nights 1 and 2. Quetiapine 25 mg and 100 mg significantly improved sleep induction and continuity under standard and acoustic stress conditions. Increases in total sleep time, sleep efficiency, percentage sleep stage 2 and subjective sleep quality were seen. A significant increase in periodic leg movements during sleep was observed with quetiapine 100 mg. The sleep-improving properties of quetiapine may be important in counteracting different aspects of psychopathology in schizophrenia and other disorders. These sleep-inducing and sleep-modifying properties are probably related to quetiapine's receptor-binding profile, including its antihistaminergic, antidopaminergic and antiadrenergic properties. Other mechanisms might be relevant as well and further investigation is required.