As we age, we typically find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep - yet we don't really know why.
A new study set out to determine why seniors (and adults with Alzheimer's disease) appear to be more susceptible to insomnia.
The study looked at the brains of 45 individuals over the age of 65 who had worn sleep tracking wristbands.
Researchers found that the brains of these individuals appeared to have fewer ventrolateral preoptic neurons.
It would appear that the loss of these specific neurons leads to increased sleep disruption.
This study was the first to discover that the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus appears to have a key role to play in human sleep. Interestingly, these neurons also appear to be reduced in number in those with Alzheimer's disease which may also explain why insomnia is prevalent in those who suffer from that condition.
Hopefully this discovery will lead to new research (and potential treatment options) in the future.
Last updated: October 27, 2014