- Sleep deprivation is extremely common in the intensive care unit (ICU), and this lack of sleep is associated with low melatonin secretion. The objective of the current study was to explore the effect of exogenous melatonin administration on sleep quality in patients hospitalized in the pulmonary intensive care unit (ICU). We performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the pulmonary ICU of a tertiary care hospital. Eight adult patients hospitalized in the pulmonary ICU with respiratory failure caused by exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or with pneumonia were studied. Patients received either 3 mg of controlled-release melatonin or a placebo at 22:00, and sleep quality was evaluated by wrist actigraphy. Treatment with controlled-release melatonin dramatically improved both the duration and quality of sleep in this group of patients. Our results suggest that melatonin administration to patients in intensive care units may be indicated as a treatment for sleep induction and resynchronization of the "biologic clock." This treatment may also help in the prevention of the "ICU syndrome" and accelerate the healing process.