Insomnia and the Sleep Switch

So what exactly is the “sleep switch,” and how might it figure in insomnia?

This sleep-regulating center in the brain was actually discovered almost 100 years ago.

A Sleep Switch in the Brain

“Scientists Report the Discovery of a Brain ‘Switch’ That Brings On Sleep,” announced the headline of a New York Times article on January 12, 1996. The news marked the beginning of my quest to get to the bottom of my insomnia.

Four Ways to Fall Asleep

I used to be a “disordered” sleeper. That, at least, is the term I’ve heard applied to someone with a sleep schedule as erratic as mine was. One night I’d start nodding off after dinner, and the next night I’d be up till 3:30 in the morning. There was no rhyme or reason to it that I could see.

Insomnia sufferers may want to try yoga to prepare for sleep

Too Aroused for Sleep? Try Yoga

Sat Bir Khalsa, a professor and researcher at Harvard Medical School, thinks that among alternative treatments for insomnia, yoga may also be a viable solution for people who feel too aroused to sleep.

I attended Khalsa’s presentation at a conference a while back. Here’s the gist of what he said.

Insomniacs may experience hyperarousal night and day

Insomnia and Hyperarousal

Lots of factors can push you in the direction of persistent insomnia: chronic stress, rumination and worry, and too much time in bed, to name a few.

Another factor that increases your susceptibility to insomnia is physiologic “hyperarousal,” sleep experts say.

Countdown to a Good Night’s Sleep

Scientists have never found a way to determine how much sleep each person needs, so judgments about sleep need remain subjective.

But there is quite a range in sleep ability, or how much sleep people report that they get.

A New Look at Trazodone for Sleep

Trazodone has never been approved for the treatment of insomnia. Yet it rose to the top of the bestseller charts as a medication for sleeplessness in the 1990s and enjoys great popularity still. Here’s one explanation for its appeal.

Tired of Waking Up to a Bad Mood? Try Dreaming

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed often has to do with being short on sleep, and in recent years scientists have begun offering theories about why this is so.

Rosalind Cartwright’s research suggests that one function of sleep is the down-regulation of negative emotion so we can wake up in a happier frame of mind.