Sleep patterns and endogenous melatonin profiles in 13 fragile X boys between the age of 4.7 and 11.0 years were compared to those of 8 age-matched, normal control boys. Parents recorded sleep patterns on a Sleep Diary Chart for 14 consecutive days. Twelve saliva samples were obtained from 8 fragile X participants and all of the controls over 48 hours for the assessment of salivary melatonin profiles. The results showed greater variability in total sleep time and difficulty in sleep maintenance in fragile X boys compared with the control participants. Nocturnal melatonin production, expressed as both peak level and area under the concentration-time curve between 20:00 h and 08:00 h, were found to be significantly larger in fragile X boys than in controls. Additionally, the mean of the minimum daytime melatonin levels recorded was significantly higher for the fragile X group. Elevated levels in some fragile X boys relative to the range seen in controls, occurring either during the day or at night, or in both segments of the secretory profile for some individuals, may be due in part to overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. Alternative molecular mechanisms leading to changes in melatonin profiles in fragile X are also discussed.