The effectiveness of melatonin for promoting healthy sleep: a rapid evidence assessment of the literatureReport as inadecuate

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Nutrition Journal

, 13:106

First Online: 07 November 2014Received: 31 January 2014Accepted: 28 August 2014


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.

KeywordsMelatonin Sleep Systematic review Rapid evidence assessment of the literature REAL Dietary supplements Military health AbbreviationsREAL©Rapid evidence assessment of the literature

NHISNational Health Interview Survey

RCTRandomized controlled trial

SMESubject matter experts

PICOPopulation, intervention, comparison, outcome

SIGNScottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network

GRADEGrading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1475-2891-13-106 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Rebecca B Costello - Cynthia V Lentino - Courtney C Boyd - Meghan L O’Connell - Cindy C Crawford - Meredith L Spreng


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