Adenosine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that plays a crucial role in regulating sleep. It is a neurotransmitter that builds up in the brain throughout the day and promotes sleepiness. Caffeine, a widely consumed stimulant, works by blocking the effects of adenosine.
Melatonin is widely regarded as an important hormone that helps regulate and synchronize sleep rhythm, including sleep-wake timing  and seasonal rhythmicity aspects across vertebrates. It also has lesser-known roles as an antioxidant . We have touched briefly on melatonin in a previous article about sleep hormones and their effect on the GABA system here.
Sleep is an extremely important component of physical and emotional health and well-being. If you’re curious as to why sleep is such a necessity, check out this previous article.
The lack of or disruption of sleep, a phenomenon called insomnia, is prevalent across nations . Insomnia is one of eight sleep challenges we have previously discussed. The general consensus from population-based studies is that 30% of adults experience one or more of the symptoms of insomnia, which include difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, waking too early, and poor sleep quality .
There has been an increase in the prevalence of insomnia since the COVID-19 pandemic . Unfortunately, insomniacs rarely discuss their symptoms with a physician, and 4 out of 10 insomniacs self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs or alcohol .
Here at Troscriptions, we are big fans of all things GABA and have already published an in-depth guide that you can read here. However, if you don’t have time to read the whole guide, here is a quick summary:
GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid (which is an amino acid) and is arguably the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter in our brain. When we talk about the GABAergic function, we are referring to the relaxation effects that happen through GABA and its receptors in the brain.
During sleep, many of the systems of the body (i.e., nervous, endocrine, skeletal, muscular, and immune) are in a state of anabolism ("building up"), which promotes restoration and healing. With that said, the most pronounced physiological changes during sleep occur in the brain, which further underlines the role of sleep in cognition, mood, and memory . Therefore, any disruptions to the process of sleep, whether they be getting to sleep and/or remaining asleep, can have far-reaching consequences for overall health and wellness.
Our growth and maturation are controlled by specific gene sets that are choreographed events in conjunction with environmental cues, depending on the period of life at which they are triggered or suppressed. Any type of epigenetic factor that affects genes or gene expression networks during a person's life can lead to an imbalance in the regulatory process and may have a lasting impact .
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