Sleep Triggered by Neural DNA Damage


Senior Member

An interesting study. It showed that DNA damage in neurons accumulates during the day, and when it reaches a certain point, it triggers the need to sleep.

"Everyone is familiar with the daily cycle. You wake up feeling refreshed (assuming you had a decent night’s sleep), then as the day goes on, tiredness builds up until you simply can’t do anything else but sleep. And the longer you stay up, the stronger that need becomes. This tiredness is more technically known as homeostatic sleep pressure.

But what is the actual mechanism behind that pressure? In previous work, researchers at Bar-Ilan University found that it involves DNA damage in neurons. This damage can occur from normal biological processes, as well as environmental factors like UV light or radiation. The body’s repair mechanisms are constantly working to fix the damage, but they can’t do it fast enough while the brain is awake. Their only chance to catch up is during sleep – a process that the team likens to workers fixing potholes in the road at night, when there’s less traffic."

Maybe ME inhibits the full repair of neural DNA. Maybe it would show as a difference in lymph output from the brain during sleep, assuming that DNA repair produces specific waste molecules or other such markers.

I certainly wake up feeling like I have potholes in my brain. :pem: