Gut microbes: a key to normal sleep

Researchers used a cocktail of antibiotics to deplete gut microbes in mice. They found that metabolites in the gut differed in these mice compared with controls. In particular, metabolic pathways involved in making important neurotransmitters like serotonin were affected. Additionally, these mice showed abnormal day-night distribution in sleep/wake patterns, particularly the amount of REM sleep, and frequent transitions between REM and non-REM sleep episodes. Source

Worms reveal why melatonin promotes sleep

Melatonin is used as a dietary supplement to promote sleep and get over jet lag, but nobody really understands how it works in the brain. Now, researchers show that melatonin helps worms sleep, too, and they suspect they’ve identified what it does in us. Source

Healthy sleep habits help lower risk of heart failure

Healthy sleep habits are associated with a lower risk of heart failure. Adults with the healthiest sleep patterns (morning risers, sleeping 7-8 hours a day and no frequent insomnia, snoring or excessive daytime sleepiness) experienced a 42% reduction in the risk of heart failure compared to those with unhealthy sleep patterns. Source

Scientists discover how a common mutation leads to ‘night owl’ sleep disorder

People with delayed sleep phase disorder are unable to fall asleep until late at night (often after 2 a.m.) and have difficulty getting up in the morning. In 2017, scientists discovered a surprisingly common mutation that causes this sleep disorder by altering a key component of the biological clock that maintains the body’s daily rhythms. Now, a new study reveals the molecular mechanisms involved and point the way toward potential treatments. Source

Hydrogen sulfide helps maintain your drive to breathe

Researchers have found that the production of hydrogen sulfide gas is necessary to breathe normally. Inhibition of hydrogen sulfide production in rats prevented brain neurons that control breathing from functioning normally. These findings have identified new mediators of breathing that can now be explored in the context of human health and disease. Source

Cognitive behavioral therapy reduces insomnia symptoms among young drinkers

More than half of young adults at risk for alcohol-related harm report symptoms of insomnia. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the first-line treatments for insomnia, but it’s never been tested on young adults who are actively drinking. Researchers evaluated CBT’s effect on young adult binge drinkers with insomnia to determine if this treatment can improve their sleep and potentially affect alcohol use outcomes. Source