How a bunch of losers just opened the door to creating a better sleeping pill

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I’m absolutely bad at playing paddle tennis and no, it’s not a false nuisance. It’s not that it’s a “bad standard”, it’s that I’m so bad that I’m almost sure that in some countries it must be a crime. This has understandably caused my sports partners one after another to want to break up with me.

Some start with “it’s not you, it’s me”; others are more direct and try to convince me that at different times in our padel life. But the excuse that surprised me the most was that of a boy who told me that he was going to play paddle tennis to lose, that he rested better when he lost and that with me it was impossible to do so. The funny thing is that, as just published in the journal Scienceyou may be right.

The dream that repairs you. And it is that, according to a new study in mice, the stress caused by being defeated activates the cells of the mid brain in such a way that sleep is favored and anxiety is reduced. This is curious because stress is normally associated with insomnia, but the opposite can also happen: chronic stress is known to increase REM sleep.

The latter has led some researchers to hypothesize that sleep plays a key role in the adaptive response to stressful situations and ultimately helps ameliorate their negative physiological and mental impacts. Specific, the mouse study It is interesting because the “stress response elicited by the loss of a social confrontation” that these animals undergo is often used as a model of psychosocial stress. That is, what we find out about that state is usually easy to transfer to humans.

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How does all this work? Until now, the mechanisms underlying this improvement in sleep were not clear. With this research, Xiao Yu and his colleagues evaluated brain circuits involved in stress-induced sleep from social defeat and discovered a small cluster of neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain that is dedicated to detecting stress and inducing restful sleep.

As they explain, the subset of neurons receives information about stress and promotes enhancement of REM and non-REM sleep for several hours. At the same time, it inhibits the release of corticotropin-releasing factor (in charge of stress regulation). This means that, overall, the sleep thus initiated relieves stress levels and mitigates stress-induced anxiety in the mice, restoring mental and bodily functions.

A sleeping pill in glory. This has interesting implications because while it’s true that “not everyone can respond to social defeat with a sleep attack” and this individual variation “requires more research,” pinpointing the neurological circuitry allows us to begin to approach that restorative sleep from a different point of view. pharmacological point of view. That is, the “sleep well” pill is much closer than we might think.

Image | Oliver Sjostrom

I’m absolutely bad at playing paddle tennis and no, it’s not a false nuisance. It’s not that it’s a “bad…

I’m absolutely bad at playing paddle tennis and no, it’s not a false nuisance. It’s not that it’s a “bad…

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