Dopamine helps to regulate sleep, say researchers
Dopamine could be used to help regulate people's sleep, a new investigation by a group of researchers in Spain has revealed.
The neurotransmitter is found in the pineal gland, which helps control the body's circadian rhythm - or the way the brain adapts to day and night.
Currently, dopamine receptors only appear in the pineal gland when night-time is almost over.
Therefore, the scientists believe it could be used to control the production of the hormone melatonin, which is released earlier in the night and regulates the body's metabolic activity during sleep.
Potentially, this could help to reduce drowsiness and the onset of sleep, particularly when helping individuals suffering from jet lag and sleep disorders, or those who work at night.
Two studies presented at the recent Sleep 2012 conference in Boston revealed people who do not get enough shut-eye are more likely to choose unhealthy food when they need to eat.
Posted by Michael Ewing