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The Science Behind a Good Night Sleep

Image courtesy of Claudio Scott

Tens of millions of Americans are impacted by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems that can significantly diminish health, alertness and safety.

On this edition of River to River, Dr. Eric Dyken, director of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorder Center, explains some of the research that is being done on the science of sleep.

"They've sort of localized a little bit more that biologic clock that is responsible for having you wake up, and having you go to sleep," Dyken says.

"Now that they've localized it, they can look at the neurotransmitters, the chemicals intrinsic to these cells. And people who have trouble with sleepiness or insomnia, difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, find that the chemical abnormality is within the circuit that they've localized, and then think of a good pharmaceutical treatment for people who may have had injury or abnormal circuits in their brain."

This hour, Dyken also discusses research on sleep apnea and how the brain perceives noise during and before sleep.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River