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The relationship between the use of exogenous melatonin and mental health of overweight night nurses


Introduction: Night work is a necessary practice, especially in the medical field, where care is comprehensive and uninterrupted. However, this work scheme can have harmful effects on physical and mental health. The suppression of melatonin due to exposure to light during night work has been described as a risk effect for night workers’ health.


Objectives: To evaluate the effect of melatonin supplementation on mental health of overweight nocturnal nursing professionals and to estimate the prevalence of emotional disorders.


Methods: This was a double-blind, randomized, crossover clinical trial, carried out with 27 female professionals. Participants used melatonin (3 mg) or placebo for three months. The dependent variables corresponded to the professionals' perception of mild and severe emotional disorders, assessed through two questions extracted from the Work Ability Index and self-perception after the use of melatonin and placebo about symptoms of Premenstrual Tension (PMS), anxiety, mood, physical and mental disposition. To compare the proportions of the effect of melatonin in relation to baseline and placebo, Fisher's exact hypothesis test was performed, with a significance level of 5%.


Results: The average age of the participants was 36.9 (SE=1.1 year-old), most of them being married (59.3%), in which a large proportion had completed a graduate degree (44.4%). None of the participants reported having severe emotional disturbances at baseline after either melatonin supplementation or placebo use. Mild emotional disorders were reported by 25.9% and 14.8% at baseline (own opinion and medical diagnosis, respectively), but no statistically significant difference was found after using melatonin. The prevalence of perceived improvement in symptoms of anxiety, physical and mental readiness after using exogenous melatonin (48.1%; 63%; 59.3%, respectively) was higher compared to placebo (18.5%, 22.2% and 22.2%, respectively). No differences were found regarding PMS and mood symptoms before and after the intervention.


Conclusion: Exogenous melatonin supplementation attenuates symptoms of anxiety, physical and mental readiness in overweight nocturnal nursing professionals.


Night work; Nursing professionals; Mental health; Melatonin supplementation.




UNISANTOS - São Paulo - Brasil


Paula Santos de Souza, Elaine Cristina Marqueze, Claudia Roberta Castro Moreno, jose cipolla-neto