A recent study published online in Science Translational Medicine may have found a cure for primary hypersomnia, a condition in which patients who receive ordinary amounts of sleep still feel tired throughout the day.
Research investigator David Rye, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine noted that most people with sleep disorders are treated with a stimulant that helps the body’s “wake systems” function properly. With patients who suffer from hypersomnia, these medications are ineffective and new approach is needed.
According to the researchers, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the patients was shown to activate a brain chemical known as gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), which inhibits the central nervous system. In the subjects who had a tendency to be sleepy, the GABA effect from the spinal fluid was significantly amplified.
“In some of the more severely affected patients, we estimated the magnitude of the GABA-enhancing effect as nearly equivalent to that expected for someone receiving sedation for outpatient colonoscopy,” said Rye. “This is a level of impaired consciousness that many subjects had to combat on almost a daily basis in order to live their usual lives.”
The researchers found that flumazenil, which is usually used to treat overdoses from benzodiazepine drugs like daizepam and zolpidem, was effective in reducing the effects of GABA in some of the patients. They also noted that more research on a larger group of subjects needs to be conducted to find out the effectiveness of flumazenil.
Getting the proper amount of sleep
In order to fight drowsiness, there are several good sleep habits people should cultivate. The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping a constant schedule in which people wake up and fall asleep at the same time, engaging in relaxing activities before bed such as yoga or meditation and creating a healthy sleep environment that is comfortable. The University of Maryland also notes that melatonin may be useful because it helps maintain the body’s internal clock. You can get melatonin from a CalMax sleep supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.