Discovery of 'Sleep' Chemical Could End Misery of Insomnia

Daily Mail (London), November 23, 2011 | Go to article overview

Discovery of 'Sleep' Chemical Could End Misery of Insomnia


Byline: Fiona MacRae Science Correspondent

SLEEPLESS nights could soon be no more than a bad dream.

Scientists have identified a brain chemical that plays a key role in falling asleep and staying awake.

Too little of the chemical and the brain nods off - too much and it can't get to sleep.

The finding raises the prospect of better sleeping pills for the nation's legions of insomniacs.

The average Briton sleeps for six hours and seven minutes a night, well below the traditionally recommended eight hours.

Millions of prescriptions for sleep each year, but the drugs don't work for everyone, can cause side-effects including grogginess and can be addictive. A recent study found those who took sleeping tablets were around 36 per cent more likely to die at any given time than others.

In the latest study, U.S. researchers focused on a brain enzyme called calcium kinase, which was known to be involved in sleep.

Giving rats a drug that stopped the enzyme from getting to work in the brain made the animals sleep more.

Encouragingly, the doses used were minimal, according to the study in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Boston University researcher Subimal Datta said: 'Sleep, one of the most mysterious regular shifts in consciousness, is regulated by a delicate balance between biological processes, the environment and behaviour - but the actual mechanisms involved in the regulation are not well understood.

'The ultimate goal of my research is to deepen the understanding of how sleep is regulated at the cellular level, which could lead to finding both the causes and cures for a variety of sleep disorders.

'Current treatments for sleep disorders do not achieve the ideal behavioural outcome, and are usually accompanied by many undesirable side effects.

'A more specific, fine-tuned approach to treating these disorders by promoting alertness and treating insomnia would greatly benefit public health.' Lack of sleep is linked to a host of health problems, from heart disease and memory loss to diabetes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Discovery of 'Sleep' Chemical Could End Misery of Insomnia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.