Sleep deprivation increases brain sensitivity


Busier folks lose a lot of sleep. Consequences include teary eyes, frequent yawning, and inattention during meetings or work. Apparently, not getting enough REM sleep also increases sensitivity to dopamine.

Tufic et al. published findings on depriving rats of sleep. Specifically, they deprived their stress groups of REM sleep by placing rats on relatively small, elevated platforms. They administered apomorphine, a dopamine agonist, to both stress groups and control groups and noted aggressive behavior, stereotyped behavior, verticalization, and body temperature. Apomorphine is an emetic (vomit-inducer) used to treat conditions including Parkinson’s disease and erectile dysfunction. William S. Burroughs advocated using apomorphine to treat heroine addiction.



They found that sleep deprivation is associated with sensitivity to apomorphine by all measures. Dopamine is postulated to modulate reward-learning and extraverted behavior. It might also account for the cocaine and methamphetamine addiction and ADHD. Since sleep deprivation might enhance dopamine-neuron sensitivity, not sleeping enough may account for adverse effects of dopamine-related drugs.



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1 Response

  1. Dorothea Crayford says:

    There are many causes of sleep deprivation. The stresses of daily life may intrude upon our ability to sleep well, or perhaps we trade sleep for more work or play. We may have medical or mental-health conditions that disrupt our sleep, and be well aware that we are sleep-deprived.”^,*

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