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Effects of melatonin on work ability: a randomized, double-blind, crossover controlled clinical trial


Introduction: Melatonin suppression in night workers is one of the possible factors that contribute to premature functional aging. This suppression is often associated with poor sleep quality, metabolic disease and other health problems, among factors that may reduce the work ability.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of exogenous melatonin on work ability in overweight night workers.


Methods: A randomized double-blind crossover clinical trial was carried out with 27 overweight nursing professionals, working fixed night shifts of 12x36 h. Melatonin supplementation was performed for three months, as well as the use of a placebo. Work ability was assessed by the work ability index (WAI).


Results: The mean age of participants was 37 (SE 1.1 years-old) and 59.3% were married. Mean time working night shifts was 4.8 years (AIQ 2-7.8 years) and the mean time working in the hospital was 6 years (AIQ 5-10.7 years). According to the proportion test, 40.7% of the participants had good or excellent work ability at baseline, and after exogenous melatonin supplementation, the proportion increased significantly to 74.1%, decreasing to 59.3% after using placebo. Repeated measures ANOVA showed that work ability improved after melatonin supplementation (mean 38.2 points, SE 0.70 points) compared to baseline (mean 34.6 points, SE 0.92 points) and placebo (mean 36.9 points, SE 0.87 points).


Conclusion: Exogenous melatonin supplementation improves the work ability in overweight night workers.


Keywords: Melatonin, Work ability, Night work.


Área Clínica


Department of Epidemiology, Public Health Graduate Program, Catholic University of Santos, Santos, Brazil - São Paulo - Brasil, Department of Health, Life Cycles and Society, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil - São Paulo - Brasil, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo (SP), Brazil - São Paulo - Brasil, Stress Research Institute, University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden. - - Suécia


Christiane Cruz Torres Correia , José Cipolla Neto, Claudia Roberta Castro Moreno, Elaine Cristina Marqueze