Newsroom | Inserm

Friday 27 March 2015: Sleep Day

According to the French National Institute of Sleep and Alertness (InSV), 1 French person in 5 suffers from insomnia, and up to 9% of these insomniacs are badly affected (poor quality sleep, difficulty falling asleep, multiple awakenings or waking too early).

On average, we spend one-third of our lives asleep.

Indeed, sleep is indispensable to the learning, memorisation, adaptation and growth functions, and is also very important to our state of well-being. Without it, we could not recover our physical and mental abilities.

On the 15th Sleep Day, to be held on Friday 27 March 2015 on the theme of “Sleep and Nutrition,” many public institutions and associations, including InSV, will be working to receive, inform and sensitise the general public.

Throughout the year, researchers at Inserm Unit 1028, the “Lyon Neuroscience Research Center,” and at Inserm Unit 846 are particularly  involved in the research concerning sleep. 

The chronobiology department of Inserm Unit 1028 take interest in light effects on sleep and biological clock. A recent study from the theam, led by Claude Gonfrier shows that the light spectrum can be optimized to enable the circadian system to synchronise and to maintain an appropriate sleep duration in extreme artificial lightning conditions. (See the press release “Dimly lit working environments : correcting your body clock is possible!“)

It has recently been shown that voluntary sleep restriction in humans favors the onset of diseases such as obesity and diabetes , while the mechanisms involved remain unknown, because of the lack of adequate animal model.

The team led by Jian-Sheng Lin has found that the chronic invalidation of the negative feedback of the histamine neurons, an important awakening system of the brain , helps to keep the mice  awake when they are required to perform cognitive tasks. However, there is a price to pay for this sleep resistance  and better performance since in the absence of task, these mice are sleepy. Moreover, they also present a marked obesity. Thus, this model enable the researchers to study how sleep restriction leads to obesity.