Insomnia is a common problem and it is estimated that more than 15% of US citizens suffer from it.
New research has revealed that brains of persons who suffer from insomnia have a hyperactive brain as compared to persons who are blessed with normal sleep. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University found out that the brains of persons suffering from insomnia was more active, more adaptable to change and the neurons situated in the motor cortex were hypersensitive.
The research study was published in the science journal Sleep. Scientists examined 30 adults, 20 of them suffered from chronic sleep disorders while 10 subjects were endowed with good sleep. The subjects had electrodes placed on their skull and also had 65 electrical pulses placed on their thumb. The scientists were able to precisely and painlessly direct electromagnetic streams to certain parts of the brain.
EEG or electroencephalograms were used to deduce brain flexibility. The data about the subjects involuntary thumb movements in response to the pulses were also collected and Accelerometers were worn by the subjects on their thumbs so that the speed and the direction of the thumb movements could be tracked. This was followed by a 30 minutes session in which all the subjects were asked to move their thumbs in a direction opposite to the involuntary movements caused by the pulses. The ability of the subjects to learn to move their thumbs in a new direction was considered as a parameter for increased brain flexibility.
Contrary to the expectations of the scientists, the subjects who were suffering from insomnia exhibited better brain flexibility as compared to the subjects who had good sleep. However scientists have to figure out if this really means something good or bad.
Researchers have discovered that most persons, who suffer from insomnia, could be having a hyperactive brain or the brain is always on. The brain continues to be in a higher gear even when it is supposed to calm down during night. Even after persons with insomnia are able to sleep, their brain patterns reveal more waking characteristics in comparison to persons with good sleep. The brain waves of persons with good sleep slowly slow down and goes into a delta wave pattern, which is characteristic of deep sleep. Persons with sleep disorders can also go into a state of delta sleep but they have faster rhythms. Insomniacs also have higher amounts of the stress chemical cortisol in their blood.