Completed Studies

Sleep Aids and Performance


Air and ground crews are often given rest opportunities during the day. Due to normal human biology, this practice often leads to shortened and restless sleep. For those accustomed to sleeping at night, sleep in the late morning is very difficult and sleep in the afternoon is only somewhat easier. In such cases, a sleep promoting medication may be prescribed to promote a more restful sleep period.


This study was designed to determine if sleep medications would aid daytime sleep after a night of sleep deprivation. The purpose of this study was to compare two doses of the sleep medication, zolpidem, and two doses of the hormone melatonin, to determine how well and how long people are able to sleep during the day.


A group of 20 healthy individuals, both male and female between the ages of 18 and 40, participated in four groups of five. Each participant was paid $10 per hour for the hours they completed up to a maximum of $3205. The experiment required five study weekends of 60.5 hours each. Prior to the study weekends, three 3-hour evening training sessions were completed in addition to one night of baseline sleep. On study weekends, participants entered the research facility at 6 p.m. on Friday evening and were released at 7 a.m. on Monday morning. The night of sleep deprivation occurred on Friday and participants were allowed to sleep for eight hours during the day on Saturday. Participants were given zolpidem, melatonin, or a placebo once before the daytime sleep opportunity.