Fragmented Sleep in Aging Traced to Over-Sensitive Neurons
A type of neuron in the hypothalamus that regulates transitions between sleep and wakefulness becomes "hyperexcitable" with age, lowering the threshold that triggers it to fire and rouse the rest of the brain, a study in mice shows. In older animals, hypocretin neurons - which secrete neuropeptides, known as hypocretins or orexins, that promote wakefulness - were diminished in number and often in a partly active state, requiring less stimulation to fire, researchers found in a series of experiments.
@sunidhi The hypocretin system of the hypothalamus, first described in 1998 by Dr. de Lecea while at the Scripps Research Institute, is universal in mammals. It coordinates brain signals that indicate when arousal is needed, and provides that wake-up call through release of neuropeptides that Dr. de Lecea dubbed hypocretins.