Individual Differences in the Amount and Timing of Salivary Melatonin Secretion
Published Date:Aug 26 2008
Source:PLoS ONE. 2008; 3(8).
Funding:R01 NS035695/NS/NINDS NIH HHS/United States
R01 NR07677/NR/NINR NIH HHS/United States
R01 NS23421/NS/NINDS NIH HHS/United States
R01 NS35695/NS/NINDS NIH HHS/United States
R01 OH003954/OH/NIOSH CDC HHS/United States
The aim of this study was to examine individual differences in a large sample of complete melatonin profiles not suppressed by light and search for possible associations between the amount and timing of melatonin secretion and a multitude of lifestyle variables. The melatonin profiles were derived from saliva samples collected every 30 minutes in dim light from 85 healthy women and 85 healthy men aged 18–45 years. There was a large individual variability in the amount of melatonin secreted with peak values ranging from 2 to 84 pg/ml. The onset of melatonin secretion ranged from 18:13 to 00:26 hours. The use of hormonal birth control, reduced levels of employment, a smaller number of days on a fixed sleep schedule, increased day length and lower weight were associated with an increased amplitude of melatonin secretion. The use of hormonal birth control, contact lenses, a younger age, and lower ratings of mania and paranoia were associated with a longer duration of melatonin secretion. An earlier occurrence of the onset of melatonin secretion was associated with an earlier wake time, more morningness and the absence of a bed partner. Lifestyle and behavioral variables were only able to explain about 15% of the individual variability in the amount of melatonin secretion, which is likely because of a substantial genetic influence on the levels of melatonin secretion.
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