Melatonin and Zopiclone as Facilitators of Early Circadian Sleep in Operational Air Transport Crews


  1. Paul, M.A.
  2. Gray, G.W.
  3. Sardana, T.M.
  4. Pigeau, R.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
This study was an extension into an operational setting of previous laboratory work investigating the use of zopiclone and melatonin to facilitate early circadian sleep in transport aircrew. The previous laboratory based study demonstrated that both melatonin and zopiclone were effective in inducing early circadian sleep without impacting on psychomotor performance after a 7-hour sleep period. Methods. In a repeated measures placebo controlled protocol 30 aircrew flew 3 transatlantic missions over which they took each of the 3 medications (placebo, sustained-release melatonin 2mg, or zopiclone 5 mg) at an early body clock time (1700 hrs) during their first stopover. They wore wrist actigraphs prior to, and throughout the missions, took a single dose of their scheduled medication immediately prior to their early circadian bed-time and completed a sleep questionnaire upon arising from their medicated sleep. Results. Actigraphic data: Relative to placebo, aircrew on melatonin fell asleep more quickly (p<.01), slept more (p<.02), had fewer awakenings after sleep onset (p<.004), and spent less time awake after sleep onset (p<.01). On zopiclone they also fell asleep more quickly (p<.003), slept more (p<.005), had fewer awakenings (p<.01) and spent less time awake after sleep onset (p<.05). Questionnaire data: Relative to placebo, on melatonin aircrew experienced less difficulty getting to sleep (p<.0001), had fewer awakenings (p<.005), less difficulty returning to sleep after awake

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Aircrew fatigue;Human performance;Air Transport Operations;Melatonin;Zoplicone;Early circadian sleep
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-SL-2003-149 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 May 2004
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, vol 75, no 5, 2004, p 439-443
Electronic Document(PDF)

Permanent link

Document 1 of 1

Date modified: