The brain, it’s amazing. It’s at the top of the heap in total body health, and especially in mood and the ability to have a great night’s sleep. But it’s still unfolding how the heck it does all that it does, especially in regards to that elusive marvelous thing called ‘sleep’.
A segment of the brain, in the hippocampus, is called the lateral habenula, which is where serotonin is made. When this area was removed in the brains of rats, they couldn’t get into theta sleep, which is a part of deep REM sleep. When the animal is in deep REM sleep, this area of the brain fires rhythmically in sync with theta rhythm to accomplish this. And it does this with serotonin signaling as part of this cross-talk conversation.
So great deep theta/REM sleep is a collaborative effort between serotonin, 5 HTP, pyridoxal 5 phosphate (the active form of vitamin B6), neurotransmitter balance, and neurosex-steroid balance, along with healthy brain activity. Whew! There are lots of dancers in this huge choreographed number called sleep. Journal of Neuroscience 2013
With so many players, it’s easy for things to go wrong and sleep to get disturbed. We have seen that sleep hypnotics hold lots of issues, such as increased early death and increased incidence of cancer with just taking 20 or more sleep med pills a year. So, it is a good thing to try to find what is at the core of sleep cacophony, and right the wrongs from the inside out, rather than pour more pills on top of a physiologic dyslexic situation.