Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2014 Nov 7;13:106.
doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-106.

The Effectiveness of Melatonin for Promoting Healthy Sleep: A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature

Free PMC article

The Effectiveness of Melatonin for Promoting Healthy Sleep: A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature

Rebecca B Costello et al. Nutr J. .
Free PMC article


A systematic review was conducted using Samueli Institute's Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature (REAL) process to determine the evidence base for melatonin as an agent to optimize sleep or improve sleep quality, and generalize the results to a military, civilian, or other healthy, active, adult population. Multiple databases were searched yielding 35 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) meeting the review's inclusion criteria, which were assessed for methodological quality as well as for melatonin effectiveness. The majority of included studies were high quality (83.0%). Overall, according to Grading Recommendations, Assessment Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology, weak recommendations were made for preventing phase shifts from jet lag, for improving insomnia in both healthy volunteers and individuals with a history of insomnia, and for initiating sleep and/or improving sleep efficacy. Based on the literature to date, no recommendations for use in shift workers or to improve hormonal phase shift changes in healthy people can be made at this time. Larger and longer-duration RCTs utilizing well characterized products are needed to warrant melatonin recommendations in young, healthy adults.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow chart of included studies.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 20 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Bliwise DL, Ansari FP. Insomnia associated with valerian and melatonin usage in the 2002 National Health Interview Survey. Sleep. 2007;30:881–884. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Peterson AL, Goodie JL, Satterfield WA, Brim WL. Sleep disturbance during military deployment. Mil Med. 2008;173:230–235. - PubMed
    1. Seelig AD, Jacobson IG, Smith B, Hooper TI, Boyko EJ, Gackstetter GD, Gehrman P, Macera CA, Smith TC. Sleep patterns before, during, and after deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Sleep. 2010;33:1615–1622. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Lentino C, Purvis D, Murphy K, Deuster P. Sleep as a component of the performance triad: the importance of sleep in a military population. US Army Med Dep J. 2013;Oct-Dec:98–108. - PubMed
    1. Van Camp R. Zolpidem in fatigue management for surge operations of remotely piloted aircraft. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2009;80:553–555. doi: 10.3357/ASEM.2460.2009. - DOI - PubMed

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources