Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Microbiology, Fermentation, Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Technologies involving the manipulation of cells,

Publication Details

Marine Drugs

Open access


Sleep deficiency is now considered an emerging global epidemic associated with many serious health problems, and a major cause of financial and social burdens. Sleep and mental health are closely connected, further exacerbating the negative impact of sleep deficiency on overall health and well-being. A major drawback of conventional treatments is the wide range of undesirable side-effects typically associated with benzodiazepines and antidepressants, which can be more debilitating than the initial disorder. It is therefore valuable to explore the efficiency of other remedies for complementarity and synergism with existing conventional treatments, leading to possible reduction in undesirable side-effects. This review explores the relevance of microalgae bioactives as a sustainable source of valuable phytochemicals that can contribute positively to mood and sleep disorders. Microalgae species producing these compounds are also catalogued, thus creating a useful reference of the state of the art for further exploration of this proposed approach. While we highlight possibilities awaiting investigation, we also identify the associated issues, including minimum dose for therapeutic effect, bioavailability, possible interactions with conventional treatments and the ability to cross the blood brain barrier. We conclude that physical and biological functionalization of microalgae bioactives can have potential in overcoming some of these challenges.