Medical/biological study (observational study)

Disturbed sleep in individuals with Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF): Melatonin assessment as a biological marker.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2016; 37 (3): 175-182

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The differences between electrosensitive and healthy subjects regarding sleep quality and the melatonin level in saliva and urine should be investigated.
Background/further details: 30 electrosensitive and 25 healthy subjects participated in the study. Subjects collected their two first saliva samples at home. The first sample was collected before bedtime on the day prior to the experiment. The second sample was taken 5 min after they woke up in the morning of the experiment day before coming to laboratory. Participants arrived at the laboratory around 09:00 and spent their waking time there. Saliva was then collected every 30 min from 10:00 to 11:30 and from 14:00 to 16:30. Total urine was collected overnight from 20:00 on the previous day to wake-up time as the night fraction, and from wake-up time to 16:30 as the daytime fraction.



    • shielding/field deprivation
Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1:
  • unspecified
General information
no exposure; during the time in the laboratory, participants were located inside a dimly lit, electrically shielded room serving as a Faraday cage allowing electrosensitive participants to be in an environment without EMFs
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
  • unspecified
Exposure setup
No parameters are specified for this exposure.

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The subjective sleep quality was significantly lower in electrosensitive subjects than in healthy subjects, while there were no differences observed in sleepiness.
However, no statistical difference was found between the two groups for saliva melatonin and urine hydroxymelatoninsulfate levels.
The authors conclude that the present results show no association between the melatonin level in saliva and urine and a reduced subjective sleep quality in electrosensitive persons.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l'Alimentation, de l'Environnement et du Travail (ANSES; French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety), France

Related articles

  • Dahmen N et al. (2009): Blood laboratory findings in patients suffering from self-perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).
  • Leitgeb N (2007): [Investigation of sleep quality in electrohypersensitive residents near base stations under domestic conditions].
  • Schüz J et al. (2006): The "Mainzer EMF-Wachhund": results from a watchdog project on self-reported health complaints attributed to exposure to electromagnetic fields.
  • Youngstedt SD et al. (2002): No association of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin with in-bed 60-Hz magnetic field exposure or illumination level among older adults.
  • David E et al. (2002): [On the Phenomenon of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity].