Health News Digest recently reported on research published by the journal Biological Psychiatry that identified a new insomnia cause. Cytokines - products of our immune systems - may be to blame for our insomnia.
In the study, patients with Hepatitis C were exposed to doses of cytokine, which activates the immune system in order to fight the virus. Over the course of the three month treatment, the patients woke repeatedly during the night, spent less time in a deep sleep and felt fatigued during the day. Despite this, the patients were unable to fall asleep during the day when offered naps.
This could be an extremely promising line of research - new insomnia drugs could target the effects of cytokines which would be a new direction for the treatment of insomnia. Further research is currently taking place to determine whether blocking cytokines can improve sleep - we'll keep you updated.
Last updated: July 13, 2010