↓ Skip to main content

Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2002
Altmetric Badge

About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (97th percentile)

Mentioned by

30 news outlets
9 blogs
172 tweeters
2 patents
9 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
1 Google+ user
1 Q&A thread
3 video uploaders


261 Dimensions

Readers on

179 Mendeley
You are seeing a free-to-access but limited selection of the activity Altmetric has collected about this research output. Click here to find out more.
Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, April 2002
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd001520
Pubmed ID

Andrew Herxheimer, Keith J Petrie


: Jet-lag commonly affects air travellers who cross several time zones. It results from the body's internal rhythms being out of step with the day-night cycle at the destination. Melatonin is a pineal hormone that plays a central part in regulating bodily rhythms and has been used as a drug to re-align them with the outside world. : To assess the effectiveness of oral melatonin taken in different dosage regimens for alleviating jet-lag after air travel across several time zones. : We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychLit and Science Citation Index electronically, and the journals 'Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine' and 'Sleep' by hand. We searched citation lists of relevant studies for other relevant trials. We asked principal authors of relevant studies to tell us about unpublished trials. Reports of adverse events linked to melatonin use outside randomised trials were searched for systematically in 'Side Effects of Drugs' (SED) and SED Annuals, 'Reactions Weekly', MEDLINE, and the adverse drug reactions databases of the WHO Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) and the US Food & Drug Administration. : Randomised trials in airline passengers, airline staff or military personnel given oral melatonin, compared with placebo or other medication. Outcome measures should consist of subjective rating of jet-lag or related components, such as subjective wellbeing, daytime tiredness, onset and quality of sleep, psychological functioning, duration of return to normal, or indicators of circadian rhythms. : Ten trials met the inclusion criteria. All compared melatonin with placebo; one in addition compared it with a hypnotic, zolpidem. Nine of the trials were of adequate quality to contribute to the assessment, one had a design fault and could not be used in the assessment. Reports of adverse events outside trials were found through MEDLINE, 'Reactions Weekly', and in the WHO UMC database. : Nine of the ten trials found that melatonin, taken close to the target bedtime at the destination (10pm to midnight), decreased jet-lag from flights crossing five or more time zones. Daily doses of melatonin between 0.5 and 5mg are similarly effective, except that people fall asleep faster and sleep better after 5mg than 0.5mg. Doses above 5mg appear to be no more effective. The relative ineffectiveness of 2mg slow-release melatonin suggests that a short-lived higher peak concentration of melatonin works better. Based on the review, the number needed to treat (NNT) is 2. The benefit is likely to be greater the more time zones are crossed, and less for westward flights. The timing of the melatonin dose is important: if it is taken at the wrong time, early in the day, it is liable to cause sleepiness and delay adaptation to local time. The incidence of other side effects is low. Case reports suggest that people with epilepsy, and patients taking warfarin may come to harm from melatonin. : Melatonin is remarkably effective in preventing or reducing jet-lag, and occasional short-term use appears to be safe. It should be recommended to adult travellers flying across five or more time zones, particularly in an easterly direction, and especially if they have experienced jet-lag on previous journeys. Travellers crossing 2-4 time zones can also use it if need be. The pharmacology and toxicology of melatonin needs systematic study, and routine pharmaceutical quality control of melatonin products must be established. The effects of melatonin in people with epilepsy, and a possible interaction with warfarin, need investigation.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 172 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 179 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 2 1%
Canada 1 <1%
France 1 <1%
Singapore 1 <1%
Japan 1 <1%
Unknown 173 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 29 16%
Student > Master 28 16%
Student > Bachelor 26 15%
Student > Ph. D. Student 24 13%
Student > Postgraduate 14 8%
Other 37 21%
Unknown 21 12%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 53 30%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 15 8%
Nursing and Health Professions 13 7%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 12 7%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 9 5%
Other 41 23%
Unknown 36 20%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 414. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 14 January 2020.
All research outputs
of 14,308,949 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 10,947 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 86,682 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 37 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 14,308,949 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 10,947 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.8. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 86,682 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 37 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.