Crocetin is a pharmacologically active carotenoid compound of Gardenia jasminoides Ellis used as a traditional herbal medicine and natural colorant. The present pilot study investigated the effect of crocetin on sleep. The clinical trial comprised a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of 21 healthy adult men with a mild sleep complaint. It included two intervention periods of 2 weeks each, separated by a 2-week washout period. We measured objective sleep quality using an actigraph, and assessed the subjective symptoms using St Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire. Actigraph data showed that after administration of crocetin, the number of wakening episodes was reduced compared to that of the placebo (p=0.025). Subjective data from St Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire showed that crocetin tended to improve the quality of sleep compared to sleep before its intake. Additionally, no side effects from crocetin intake were observed. The results suggest that crocetin may contribute to improving the quality of sleep.
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