Scientists at Oxford University have found ion channel which "switches" the human brain from sleep to wakefulness and vice versa. The study presented in the journal Nature.
Sleep is divided into two systems: the circadian (circadian) clock and homeostasis (self-regulation). Circadian clocks are well understood, they are related to the perception of a man changing day and night.
Professor Gero Mizenbek sure what the answer is that makes us fall asleep, lies in an unknown until sleep homeostasis.
"Homeostasis measure something that happens in our brain during wakefulness, and tracks human need for sleep. During sleep, the system is updated, and it all starts over again with our awakening," - he says.
Read more Scientists have explained why people abandoned a long sleep. In 2002 Mizenbek his team Experiments on fruit flies have shown that in the brain of insects, animals and perhaps people are neurons that control sleep. If they were active, then fly slept, and when "off" - has awakened fly.
The study found that the "switch" is neuronal ion channel called "sand man" (Hero of European and Scandinavian folklore, the lord of sleep - Ed.). He goes to the neurons and leads them into action, resulting in a fly falls asleep. When the insect enough sleep, homeostasis sends a signal Sandy man, and he goes toward "turning off" neurons and waking fly. Now the main question remains: how homeostasis measure whether enough sleep.