Researchers in California found that when we are exposed to light, the cells located in the hypothalamus area of our brains release hypocretin which helps keep us awake.
The study used two groups of rodents; one genetically engineered with no hypocretin and one unaltered group.
The two groups were exposed to night and day environments in which they were observed doing tasks. The results showed that the mice that had been genetically engineered (no hypocretin) had difficulty performing when exposed to light, compared to the normal mice which displayed no difficulty working during light hours.
Perhaps the brains of some chronic insomniacs are producing the wrong amounts of hypocretin - it's an interesting field of research and I hope to see more studies on this in the not too distant future.
Source: Journal of Neuroscience
Last updated: July 1, 2013