These findings also suggest that melatonin may be a bridge between the two powerful systems that govern sleep: the circadian system and the homeostatic sleep system. We know these two systems both exert influence over sleep, and together create our basic 24-hour cycle of a long, consolidated period of sleep followed by an extended period of wakefulness.
It's time to start thinking about light as a powerful medicine -- capable of providing tremendous benefit when used correctly, but requiring care and education in that use. Like a potent drug, it's absolutely necessary that we stay educated and aware of all of light's possible effects on our brains and our bodies.
Even with pretty amazing technology at our disposal, dreams -- their function, their purpose -- remain relatively little understood. The study of dreams through brain accidents, abnormalities, and disease will likely continue to be a source of new details that enrich our knowledge of this most mysterious aspect of life.
How much have you considered the purpose of your dreams, and the influence they might have over your waking life? Two recent studies explore dreaming from different angles, in search of deeper understanding of the purpose of this fascinating -- and relatively little understood -- aspect of our lives.
Sleep and pain exist in a complicated relationship to one another. Pain can interfere with sleep, making it harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Poor quality and insufficient sleep contribute to pain in several ways, decreasing tolerance for pain, increasing its intensity and discomfort, and in some cases raising the risk for the development of chronic-pain conditions.