Wake up, I’m Speaking: The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreaming
Sleep, or the lack of it, is the focus of considerable research in the United States, where sleep disorders and sleep deprivation have been associated with poor cognitive performance, behavioral problems, accidents, ill health and other factors that adversely affect quality of life.
Migraine and Sleep: New Connections
Attack” is often a word associated with migraine, and for good reason. If you suffer from migraine headaches or know someone who does, you are well aware of its crippling nature. This story focuses on new research that has uncovered an important link between migraine and sleep patterns. A better understanding of the relationships among the body’s circadian rhythms, the brain’s hypothalamus, and a mutated gene holds enormous promise of improved care for millions of people who experience migraine (three times more common in women) and familial advanced sleep phase syndrome (FASP).
Are We in the Dark About Sleepwalking’s Dangers?
When most people sleep, the brain causes both the conscious mind and the body to rest, and, during the dreaming stages of sleep, a loss of muscle tone prevents movement. In sleepwalkers, however, this process goes awry. Sleepwalking in children is usually only a safe subject of funny family stories, but adult somnambulism is a serious—even dangerous—sleep disorder. Neuroscientist Shelly Gunn, M.D., Ph.D., and her sleepwalking son, W. Stewart Gunn, explore the science of somnambulism and, because sleepwalking cannot yet be entirely prevented, suggest how we must protect both night wanderers and those who might be harmed by their unconscious actions.
The Brain on Night Shift
There are people who lash themselves to their beds to guard against violently acting out their dreams. Other people fall fast asleep without warning during conversations. Both suffer from disorders related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In June 2003, scientists celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of REM sleep and the ensuing advance in understanding brain function. But, writes Morrison, the reason the brain goes into high gear several times a night still eludes scientists.