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Posts Tagged ‘Sleep Research’

Sleep: A Mystery at the Crossroads of Neuroscience (Part 1)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 7, 2014

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP, and P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP

Deepak-chopraSleep crops up in unexpected places medically, as in the recent finding that for people suffering from bouts of depression, irregular sleep is often the first sign of an attack, and conversely, getting a good night’s sleep can help prevent the onset of depression. But the importance of sleep has become more global in recent years, involving it in obesity, for example, where bad sleep throws off the hormonal balance that tells the body when it’s hungry.

Even as sleep becomes more critical for all manner of bodily functions, this only highlights the mystery that is sleep. Sleep is certainly a physiological necessity, but neuroscience can hardly improve on Shakespeare’s observation after the guilty Macbeth cannot fall asleep.

Macbeth: Innocent sleep. Sleep that soothes away all our worries. Sleep that puts each day to rest. Sleep that relieves the weary laborer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life’s feast, and the most nourishing.

Even in our advanced scientific age sleep rules its own domain, remaining essential without telling us why. Babies spend most of their days sleeping, but why? Why do creative solutions sometimes arrive in our sleep or soon after waking? (“A problem difficult at night is often solved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” –John Steinbeck) Do plants go through rest cycles that are the equivalent of sleep? (Science’s inability to explain either the mechanisms or the purpose of sleep has been reduced to a geeky punchline: “The only well-established function of sleep is to cure sleeplessness.”)

Such puzzles have been made even more topical by a recent study in mice which showed that one of the roles of sleep may be to clear out the accumulated garbage from the brain. If this was the only explanation, however, then why do we need to spend one-third of our day unconscious — could evolution not have developed a system to clear out trash while we are awake (much like urination or defecation)? Read the rest of this entry »

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Sleep Research: What Was the Top Finding of 2010? Pick Your Favorite!

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 10, 2011


Ok, let’s try. Happy New Year 2011 and Happy New Decade to all: http://ram­kshrestha.­wordpress.­com/2010/1­2/30/happy­-new-decad­e-and-happ­y-new-year­-2011-in-1­1-language­s/
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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