New Study Identifies Brain Neurons In Pre-Sleep Routine

Mar, 2022 - By WMR

New Study Identifies Brain Neurons In Pre-Sleep Routine

The research found new information about mechanisms controlling pre-sleep behavior and sleep initiation that could lead to potential treatment for insomnia

Falling asleep can be a difficult task for people experiencing stress or excitement. In previous research, it was found that people suffering from insomnia or difficulties to fall asleep, adopted a regular pre-sleep behavior that helped them to facilitate sleep more efficiently than medication. Now, scientists from University of Michigan discovered the mechanisms that control pre-sleep behaviors and sleep initiation. The research published in the journal Current Biology on January 19, 2022 offers new insights into the brain parts that trigger sleep initiation.

In order to find the mechanism behind sleep initiation, the team conducted experiments on mice, in which it studied neural activity in 20 minutes before the mice fell asleep. It was found that the sleep onset is connected directly to pre-sleep routine and the study found out what brain parts are triggered by these routines and their connection to onset of sleep. The research focused on specific neuron groups present in a brain part called lateral hypothalamus and is known for influencing a range of processes in the body. The new study hypothesized a link between these neurons and other brain part responsible for regulating sleep.

According to the new findings, the pre-sleep behaviors play an important role to activate brain parts that start the transitions between sleep and wakefulness. Along with providing new insights into neurological processes that start before sleep, the study also indicated that these findings could help therapies in future. As of 10 to 30% of individual across the glove suffer from problems concerning onset of sleep and maintaining sleep and current pharmacological treatments could be harmful. Understandings about the mechanism of brain preparing us for sleep could help to develop novel treatments for people suffering from insomnia across the world.

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