What Triggers Sleep?

One Week to Better Sleep Day 4: Physiology
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Transcript

Alright, so I confess that this module is probably a little bit more academic. I'm going to keep it very, very short. I just presented here for information, and also to bring light of a new drug therapy that's targeting a specific thing in terms of helping people with sleep problems. So what triggers sleep? Well, it's a balance of factors I alluded to earlier, their circadian rhythm and the homeostatic These are a factor C in factor s. And the circadian rhythm is the clock or internal clock that's, that's fixed, right around 24 to 25 hours. And then the homeostatic factor, which is our body's desire to restore and reset balance when we're sleep deprived when we've been awake for a long time.

The body just really tries to shut down, tries to get us to sleep. So those two things kind of balance and have an interplay together that helped trigger the onset of sleep. It was once believed that sleep was purely just a withdrawal of sensation as we got tired. we tended to not pay attention to anything around us noise Lights, sound sensations. But we've now have realized that it's more of an act of initiations, actually, certain processes go on inside different parts of the brain to cause the brain to withdraw from its surroundings to, to shut down the perception to stop the flow of electrical signals to actually paralyze parts of the body during different phases of sleep. So it's a more of an active phase than we originally thought decades ago.

So very, a lot of science going on around exploring different ways to control manipulate sleep, very fascinating stuff. So where is the switch? What What is the switch the actual switch that the trigger sleep? Well, it's a structure, the hypothalamus, the VlP. Oh, and it's actually active in sleep, and it's active in terms of succeeding a few substances Gabba and Galanin and these are actually what are called inhibitory neurotransmitters. What they do is they inhibit or shut off various parts or structures of the brain.

So what they're doing in this phase one When these two substances are released, they're actually inhibiting the arousal. They're they're they're preventing the brain from waking up to a variety of stimuli and triggers. Something very new is something called a Rex. And these are actually a group of neurons. And these are felt to stabilize the switch. So once the process is initiated for sleep, Rex and neurons help to stabilize that mechanism to allow sleep to occur to help it proceed in a normal fashion.

And this is very exciting. There's some newer drug therapy that I talked about in the plants and potions module, lectures where we talk about some of the specific targeted drugs that deal with this group of neurons. So very exciting and fascinating stuff. It's really an interplay. That's just sort of the take home point of this short lecture is it's a combination of inhibiting certain parts of the brain stimulating release of certain substances, little bursts of gamma, gamma can occur in that action. inhibits parts of the brain you can pick that up on an eg they're called sleep spindles just for scientific sake, I'm gonna throw it out there.

And the overall process is designed to basically do one thing. We want to shut off the thinking brain from the brainstem, the part of the brain that helps us breathe and regulates our heart rate, and all those important life giving functions. So all that the life sustaining functions continue on autonomously. But our thinking brain, the feeling brand that is disconnected the switch is shut off. And that's basically how sleep is triggered.

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