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CHEMISTRY OF

SLEEP

DO YOU EVER FEEL SLEEPY OR


ZONE OUT DURING THE
DAY?

DO YOU FIND IT HARD TO


WAKE UP ON TUESDAY
MORNINGS?

THEN.... you must be familiar


with the powerful need for

SLEEP

Epworth Sleepiness Scale

In the following situations, how likely


are you to doze off or fall asleep?
0 - would never doze or sleep
1 - slight chance of dozing or sleeping
2 - moderate chance of dozing or
sleeping
3 - high chance of dozing or sleeping

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Sitting and reading


Watching TV
Sitting inactive in a public place
Being a passenger in a car for an hour
Lying down in the afternoon
Sitting and talking to someone
Sitting quietly after lunch (no alcohol)
Stopping for a few minutes in traffic while
driving

Understanding your score

010 Normal range


in healthy adults
1114 Mild
sleepiness
1517 Moderate
sleepiness
18 or higher Severe
sleepiness

BASICS OF SLEEP

SLEEP is universal and essential for


survival.
Three characteristics of sleep:

Sleep is a brain process


It is an active process
It is not a single process

Chemistry in studying sleep

There are neuronal mechanisms that


actively induce sleep
Alternating between sleep and being awake
is the result of the combined action of
various chemicals in our brain
There are specific chemicals in our bodies
that contribute to our sleep patterns
Sleep is regulated by the brain, its
neurochemical transmitters, hormones, and
mediators..
Sleep is determined by genetic factors and
developmental experience.

gamma-aminobutyric acid
(GABA)

the most important inhibitory


neurotransmitter in the brain provides this
inhibition, acting like a brake during times
of runaway stress.
This is used by the human nervous system
to send messages and modulate its own
function. GABA acts in an inhibitory manner,
tending to cause nerves to calm down.
This in turn leads to relaxation, relief from
anxiety, induction of sleep, and suppression
of seizure-activity.

What are
neurotransmitters?

brain chemicals that communicate


information throughout our brain and body
they relay signals between nerve cells,
called neurons.
There are two kinds INHIBITORY and
EXCITATORY.
Excitatory neurotransmitters stimulate the
brain, while inhibitory
neurotransmitterscalm it and create
balance

We should be sleeping right now but our


bodies will not allow us to do so because
our bodies secrete ACETYLCHOLINE
and other chemicals that induce
wakefulness.
These chemicals reduce throughout the
day making us tired at the end of the
day.

BRAIN and SLEEP

Transitions between wakefulness and


sleep are controlled and regulated by the
brain, which also plays a key role in
directing quantity and depth of sleep.
However, sleep is also strongly
influenced by external factors.

THE CHEMICALS

SEROTONIN

Keeps parts of the brain active while we


are awake.
One of the most important chemicals in
our bodies that help regulating the
sleep/wake cycle.
Synthesized by the pineal gland to make
melatonin
Plays a role in sleepiness

SEROTONIN

5-hydroxytryptamin
An organic compound
Chemical formula: C10H12N2O
Chemical structure

MELATONIN

The hormone that is directly related to


healthy sleep
Induces drowsiness in some people
Can actually be taken as a dietary
supplement
Helps people with sleep disorders get to
sleep more quickly
Excess melatonin levels can also lead to
trouble sleeping and other health issues

MELATONIN

Our melatonin levels rise several hours


before we sleep, overtaking the other
chemicals that were previously released
to keep us awake.
Also known as sleep hormone

MELATONIN

N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine
Organic compound
Chemical formula: C13H16N2O2
Chemical structure

OXYTOCIN

Neurohormone
Once released in the body, affects sleep
processes
Correlated with stages of light sleep (stage 2
of sleeping)
Peptide hormone
Affects our social emotions in real life
no study has directly examined effects of
oxytocin administration on sleep and dreams

OXYTOCIN

An organic compund

Chemical formula:

Chemical structure

C43H66N12O12S2

ADENOSINE

Accumulates in our systems throughout


the day
Also contributing to sleepiness
Dissipates while we sleep so we can
wake up refreshed in the morning

ADENOSINE

Chemical formula: C10H13N5O4

ADENOSINE AND MELATONIN are two


substances with a very active role in sleep
regulation

Adenosine is a byproduct of energy consumption by the


body. Scientists think that it accumulates in the body
throughout the day, generating a feeling of tiredness
and sleepiness which marks the beginning of the sleep
process and is then removed while we sleep, to wake
up fresh as a daisy! Thats why we fall asleep easily
after a tiring day and feel tired when we dont get
enough sleep!
The production of melatonin is extremely sensitive to
light: it is stimulated by the approach of night, but its
inhibited as soon as the retina detects light. The
smallest amount of light reduces the production of
melatonin, which is why we begin to wake up when the
sun rises, or because there are people who can only
sleep in complete darkness.

IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP

Recharges brain
energy
Helps the body
repair muscles
and tissues
Lowers energy
consumption

CHEMISTRY CONCEPTS

NEUROHORMONE

a hormone produced in neurosecretory


cells such as those of the hypothalamus
and released into the bloodstream, the
cerebrospinal fluid, or intercellular
spaces of the nervous system.
stimulates neural mechanisms or is
released when activated by neural
stimuli.

ORGANIC COMPOUND

Any compound containing a carbon


atom.
Organic compounds include
carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

PEPTIDE HORMONE

Peptide hormones are typically


generated as pro-hormones that are
secreted into the circulatory system
following specific stimuli, and exert their
effects in an endocrine manner. These
hormones generally act through
receptors on the plasma membrane
which activate second messenger protein
cascades and impact a myriad of
biological processes.

TOXINS

Bacteria contain or liberate


Brain may flush out toxins during sleep
NIH-funded study suggests sleep clears
brain of damaging molecules associated
with neurodegeneration

NEUROCHEMISTRY

Neurochemistryis the specific study of


neurochemicals including
neurotransmitters and other molecules
(such as psychopharmaceuticals) that
influence the function ofneurons

Psychopharmaceuticals- drugs having an


effect on the mental state of the user

FUN FACTS

Half of all teenagers may be


sleep deprived.

Small children are


early birds,
butduring
adolescence people
tend to become
later risers. Half of
all teenagersmay
be sleep deprived,
thanks in part to
early school start
times.

Sleep-deprived people make risky


decisions because theyre just too
optimistic.

Sleep deprivation
makes you more
sensitive to
positive rewards,
but less to
negative
consequences.

lack of sleep is like being


drunk

A study showed that after 1719 hours without


sleep, peopledo similarly on performance tests
to those close to the safe limit for drink driving.
After being awake longer, they do even worse.

Sleep makes you more


attractive

Sleep debt causes your cortisol levels to rise.


Cortisol levels are a primary determinant in
male facial symmetry and oxidative stress,
both of which are profoundly correlated with
perceived attractiveness.

HYPNIC JERKS

Something strange
sometimes occurs between
sleep stages 1 and 2;
perhaps you have
experienced this
phenomenon. Just as you
begin to drift off, your body
jerks involuntarily, often in
response to an abrupt
sensation of falling. These
jolts are known as a hypnic
jerks, or sleep starts. Experts
insist they are completely
normal, but the reason for
them is unclear. Some
theorize that as ones
muscles relax, the brain
mistakenly registers that the
body is falling, and jolts to
catch itself.

SOURCES

http://klab.tch.harvard.edu/academia/classes/sleep20
00/Lectures/l02222000.html
http://prezi.com/luqbivxn00n9/chemistry-dreamsnight
maresnightterrorssleepingmainly-about-sleeping/
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/unde
rstanding_sleep.htm
https://www.neurogistics.com/TheScience/WhatareNe
urotransmi09CE.asp
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dream-catcher/
201108/oxytocin-sleep-and-dreams
http://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/25-surprising-fac
ts-about-sleep
http://www.ask.com/question/what-is-organiccompound
http://www.rndsystems.com/molecule_group.aspx?
r=1&g=627

SOURCES

http://www.nih.gov/news/health/oct2013/
ninds-17.htm
http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10
.1146/annurev.mi.03.100149.001405
http://www.chem4kids.com/files/bio_intro
.html