Melatonin for sleep problems in individuals with intellectual disabilities: a study into its effectiveness and clinical aspects

W.J. Braam

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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Melatonin is drug that regulates the sleep-wake rhythm. This dissertation studied the working of melatonin in individuals with intellectual disabilities who have long-term sleep problems. In their case, namely, sleep problems are often caused by a disorder in their own melatonin rhythm; in individuals without intellectual disabilities other factors (such as stress) often play a role. Melatonin not only turned out effective in the treatment of problems with falling asleep and continuing to sleep, but it also had a positive effect on behaviour problems during the day. Aggressive behaviour, such as hitting, biting and destroying, was reduced. Remarkably, in some patients the sleep problems recurred during the treatment after a few weeks because the melatonin was too slowly broken down. The advice is to only start a melatonin treatment after (in the saliva) the moment has been determined when the own melatonin production has started.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Curfs, Leopold, Supervisor
  • Smits, M.G., Co-Supervisor, External person
  • Didden, R., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date29 Sep 2010
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • sleep problems
  • melatonin
  • behaviour problems

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