Human melatonin response to light at different times of the night

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1989;14(3):187-93. doi: 10.1016/0306-4530(89)90016-4.


Normal control subjects were examined on three separate occasions with light of sufficient intensity to suppress nocturnal plasma melatonin concentrations. One hour of light was given at each of the following times: (a) 2100-2200h; (b) midnight to 0100h; (c) 0400-0500h. Melatonin synthesis was just becoming apparent at 2100h. There was significant suppression of melatonin by light when given at midnight-0100h and 0400-0500h, but not when light was given at 2100-2200h. In each case following light, melatonin synthesis was shown to resume, even after light applied in the second half of the dark period (0400-0500h). A second experiment was undertaken to examine a possible "rebound" in melatonin levels following light given at 2100-2200h. Six further control subjects were exposed to light at this time, and plasma melatonin levels were measured until 0400h. No rebound in melatonin concentrations was observed. These results are compared with other studies of melatonin response to evening light exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Mental Disorders / blood


  • Melatonin