6 July 2018

Eus van Someren

Neuroscience Symposium
Van Someren Group

The Neuroscience Symposia are organized weekly by the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. The presentations are given by researchers from the institute or by guest speakers. The title and content of the symposium is usually made known in the week prior to the presentation.

Colloquium room – Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

4:00 pm – Understanding Insomnia: where are we now?
4:45 pm – Discussion and drinks

Sleep regulation is known to involve a circadian and a homeostatic component: process C and process S. In spite of the strong and wide support of these factors in the regulation of normal sleep, there is little support for their primary involvement in insomnia – which is both the most prevalent sleep disorder and second-most prevalent and costly mental disorder. A complicating factor is that insomnia is not a single disorder, but rather represents previously unrecognized subtypes that are stable over years.
Examples from HD-EEG, MRI, genetic, developmental and psychometric studies will be provided that provide converging support for the idea that the insomniac brain is radically different from the sleep deprived brain of a good sleeper, who is hardly alert. Insomnia is rather characterized by increased sensory and information processing, often summarized as hyperarousal. Our recent studies suggest a role of insufficient overnight relief of emotional distress, possibly due to fragmented REM sleep and altered activation of the salience network of the brain. This suggestion is supported by a large GWAS on risk genes and the distribution of their expression across brain areas. People with insomnia may have developed a brain that is optimally wired for staying alert, at the cost of suffering from bad sleep.