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Medical Sleep / REM Sleep and homeostasis

  1. Nov 7, 2009 #1
    Physiology texts indicate that an animal deprived of sleep will face homeostasis disturbances, for example they can loose weight despite an increased caloric intake, and they will eventually die.

    An animal deprived of REM sleep for several sleeping sessions in a row will show increased REM activity during subsequent sleep. Interrupting REM sleep repeatedly shows same disturbances in homeostasis as general sleep deprivation.

    1. What is the role of the sleep in homeostasis . What is the mechanism ?
    2. Is REM sleep essential in primates for homeostasis ? If yes, why, and what effects it mediates in addition NREM sleep stages.
    3. Is there any correlation between total period of REM sleep in an adult and accumulated fatigue? For example, would an athlete who just competed in a probe like 100m sprint which requires maximum activation of motor cortex show significant increased REM sleep total time in the following sleep period? If yes, does it stand significant on its own , or it is just a consequence of longer total sleep ?

    Just pointing to relevant reading materials is ok for an answer . Thanks
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2009 #2


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    You're asking excellent questions. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of excellent answers available. Those questions are active areas of research. While it's well recognized that we do need sleep, it's a lot less understood WHY we need sleep. It's more than a need to rest, because people can rest and remain somewhat immobile, but if they don't sleep, they still don't function right. Another question being asked is why does there seem to be a function not just for total amount of sleep, but how contiguous the sleep espisodes are? For example, you can get the same total amount of sleep either all at one time or you can take a lot of naps that all add up to the same amount of sleep. They don't have the same effect on your body's ability to function physically or cognitively.
  4. Nov 8, 2009 #3
    carl jung wrote about 'directed thinking' and 'symbolic thinking' (dreaming). directed thinking is tiring and we need from time to time to dream to recharge our batteries.

    as for homeostasis couldnt it simply be that the animals are tense and restless so they burn more calories?

    I believe that we dream even in nrem sleep. during nrem sleep we watch the dream like we would watch tv. we are still sufficiently 'with it' to realize that it isnt real. its only during rem sleep that we believe that its real and start taking part in whats happening. thats why our body becomes paralyzed during rem sleep
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  5. Dec 16, 2009 #4
    this begs the question -
    why is sleep necessary?
    the military is using drugs improve alertness and
    for staying awake up to 3 days at a time in long critical missions and
    in cases were it is important to improve recall of
    mission data for from isolated assignments

    this is accomplished by use of drugs that in the US civilian world
    are limited by the FDA
    and the drug zars to being used ONLY
    for the treatment of doziness
    from sleep apnea and ADHD
    but dont ask for sources if information concerning this here
    as the mod with the big eye will shut down discussion of this and lock the thread ..
    but know that Uncle Sam is doing it and it works!!!
    ugh ...i can not tell you how i learned of this
    but it was GI's going to collage using the same .. ugh..
    ways to study for exams after they got out!!
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  6. Dec 22, 2009 #5
    i think we dream when we 'suspend our disbelief' (ie. shut off a part of our brain)
  7. Jan 8, 2010 #6
    for you folks that would email me on this
    for mil use you can give it up now
    yes i do take one of these from my doctor
    for additional civilian info
    narcolepsy meds ( best source for med info)
    ADHD meds ( good source also for med info)
    also Sleep apnea and TBI meds
    brain enhancement drugs and possible misuse
    now watch -
    the mod most likely will lock this thread..
  8. Jan 9, 2010 #7
    dave, modafinil causes psychosis
  9. Jan 9, 2010 #8

    I don't know all that much about REM, but here's what I have:

    Lack of sleep or even shift work (i.e. night shifts) have been shown to disrupt the normal circadian rhythms of a variety of hormones necessary to maintaining homeostasis. For example, thyroid-stimulating hormone, which stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones T3&T4, is at highest concentration in the very early morning (around 2am) and at lowest concentration in the mid to late afternoon. When the normal sleep-wake cycle is disrupted, TSH levels don't reach the same peaks and the thyroid doesn't produce as much T3& T4. T3&T4 are necessary for maintaining basal metabolic rate, and deficient levels of these hormones can lead to obesity.

    Other hormones such as leptin follow a similar circadian rhythm and are also disrupted due to lack of sleep.

    Look up "circadian misalignment" on pubmed and I'm sure you'll be able to find research articles that will help answer your question :-)
  10. Jan 9, 2010 #9
    yes it might for a few it is a side effect..
    lota meds have side effects
    all are a bennie vs risk basis..
    however it does not for me,
    i had tachycardia and other heart attack symptoms on every day use
    now take it once in a while for short term use
    helps with mental clarity also.
    note mil has some other stuff now i understand
  11. Jan 13, 2010 #10
    Modafenil--the non-amphetamine speed with lots of disclaimers re we know not how it works! Careful on that one--I've prescribed it for jet lag and narcolepsy. To say it causes psychosis is a bit of a reach. Potentially sure, or in large doses, but so soes sleep deprivation.

    As to lack of rem sleep. Nice if you get a bunch. But the slow wave sleep is where restoration seems to occur. There is also at least one documented cases of people who never sleep yet function.
  12. Jan 13, 2010 #11
    thanks denver!
    how it works not known humm?
    it is also being used for survivors of TBI
    as an aid in focusing thinking...concentration...
    and it does work in that respect!
    it also settles excitability...
    again i can assure you it works on the above..
    but it is mainly used for treatment of ADHD
    shame many docs hate to use it for other things it works on..
    again risk vs bennies as with any med!
  13. Jan 13, 2010 #12
    It really seems to be a safer alternative for ADHD than the regular stimulants--but still an off label use as far as I know. One case of Stevens-Johnson syndrome in a study of 1000 patients stopped progress towards getting the indication. Yet the FDA still approves the use of various stimulants which are banned in Canada.

    Go figure as I sure as heck can't....
  14. Jan 13, 2010 #13
    that's just it, dave. as denverdoc points out, sleep deprivation causes psychosis. and your first post here hints strongly that you use it so you can sleep less and study more. sure, there are legitimate uses, but using it to avoid sleep probably causes the very side effect i brought to your attention.
  15. Jan 15, 2010 #14
    Modafinil does not make you able to stay awake permanently. 36 hours, yes ... beyond that, its efficiency gradually diminishes. When the military wants someone to stay awake and focused for 4 days continuously, they use amphetamines, they work much better.

    IIRC that was one case of *suspected* SJS (the diagnosis was never confirmed) and a bunch of cases of drug-induced rashes. Then FDA told them that, if they wanted an approval, they had to do another field trial with 3000 patients. And the company that makes it wasn't particularly interested, because their exclusive patents were running out anyway.
  16. Jan 15, 2010 #15
    Indeed. And those patents really operative in the US only as modafinil has been available as a generic for quite some time in other countries. To me, this case along with many others sugggests that a new paradigm for bringing a drug to market here in the US, or even broadening indications for an existing drug needs rethinking. If there is no profit motive, it doesn't happen, yet still leaves the off label prescribing of a med swampy territory many US docs fear to tread, and insurance companies off the hook.
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