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Changes in the way that neurons communicate with each other affect our ability to move between sleep and wake states.

Woman asleep in bed

In new research published in Science Advances, researchers from our Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, working with colleagues at MRC Harwell and University College London, have shown that changes in the way that neurons communicate with each other in the brain affect our ability to move between sleep and wake states. These findings bring us closer to understanding the role of specific genes in regulating various sleep stages.

While our bodies sleep, we transition between sleep stages, alternating between non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and wakefulness. These transitions are controlled by structures in the brain, however, the genetic regulation of this is not well understood.

The full story is available on the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences website

This story is also featured on the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics website

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