Researcher says insomnia is remnant of biphasic sleep, not a disorder, Science News

A researcher named Roger Ekirch has said that insomnia is more of a holdover from biphasic sleep than a disorder.

Ekirch is a full professor in the history department at Virginia Tech. He published the details of his findings in his book “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past”.

Widespread beliefs about sleep include advice about how much sleep is enough, what sleep quality means, and how to achieve it, but if those statements are false, they can do more harm than good, researchers argue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a third of adults in the United States say they sleep less than the recommended seven hours.

Also read | Are you not getting enough sleep? Your brain may be eating itself

There are basically two types of sleep, each tied to specific brain waves and neural activity. Rapid eye movements REM, in which the eyes move quickly from side to side behind closed eyelids, is a deep sleep with vivid dreams. Non-REM sleep is largely dreamless.

During REM sleep, the brain makes new neural connections by building and strengthening synapses – the connections between nerve cells or neurons – that allow them to communicate, reinforce learning, and cement memories. During sleep, the brain also repairs the minimal daily neurological damage it normally suffers to genes and proteins in neurons, and clears out byproducts that build up.

Also read | Getting more sleep is not always an advantage: studying

Since many people reported anecdotally about sleep problems due to the new coronavirus – including difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and vivid dreams – Ekirch investigated their effects on people’s health and circadian rhythm.

“A large number of people today suffering from middle of the night insomnia, the primary sleep disorder in the United States, and I dare say in most developed countries, are more likely to experience one than an unquoted disorder very strong holdover or an echo of that previous sleep pattern, ” Ekirch said.

Sleep is known to be critical to physical and mental health, tissue repair, cell regeneration, immune function, memory, and the regulation of mood and emotions.

(With contributions from agencies)

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