New insights into REM sleep crack an enduring mystery

Source: New insights into REM sleep crack an enduring mystery

REM sleep—the phase of night-time mammalian sleep physiology where dreams occur—has long fascinated scientists, clinicians, philosophers, and artists alike, but the identity of the neurons that control REM sleep, and its function in sleep have been controversial due to a lack of precise genetic methods to study the sleeping brain. Now, in a remarkable demonstration of a recent brain technology, neuroscientists provide the first answers to both questions, identifying a neural circuit in the brain that regulates REM sleep, and showing that REM sleep controls the physiology of the other major sleep phase, called non-REM (NREM) sleep.

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