Chemical to control sleepiness

December 31, 2007 12:35pm CST
Silent Night, a nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called orexin A reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests. The discovery's first application will probably be in treatment of the severe sleep disorder narcolepsy. For decades, stimulants have been used to combat sleepiness, but they can be addictive and often have side effects, including raising blood pressure or causing mood swings. The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired. Is this doing more harm than good? I think sleep is necessary and if we start inventing things that cause us to ignore the natural cues of our body we might be causing ourselves serious harm. I think it is best to avoid such products unless the are needed in absolute cases. Source: ABC News
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@Idlewild (6094)
• United States
1 Jan 08
I heard about this... It can be helpful in emergency situations or rare cases, but overall I'd agree with you that sleep is essential, and just because someone is wakeful doesn't mean they are 'healthy' - sleep has a lot of functions, including helping the body repair itself, and staying awake too much just isn't good for a person, it seems to me.