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Scientists put night-time teeth grinding to bed

Jonathan Warren

13.07.2012

News

Jonathan Warren
Do you kick out or grind your teeth while fast asleep in your double bed? New research has found the answer to your night-time troubles. Scientists have identified two chemical controllers that can be influenced in order to stop movement during sleep. According to new research in the July 11th edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, the implications of this study include a potential cure for teeth grinding and other unwanted movements, as well as possible help for narcolepsy and REM sleep behaviour disorder sufferers. Neuroscientists Patricia L. Brooks and John H. Peever PhD from the University of Toronto used rats to find out that the neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine allowed specialised muscle-controlling cells in the brain to 'switch off' during REM sleep. Dennis J. McGinty, a behavioural neuroscientist and sleep researcher from the University of California, offered an outsider's expert opinion on the research. "The study's findings are relevant to anyone who has ever watched a sleeping pet twitch, gotten kicked by a bed partner, or has known someone with the sleep disorder narcolepsy," he said. Dr Peever said that research such as this could prove particularly important as understanding the mechanism behind the brain's chemical controllers could help the approximately 80 per cent of people with REM sleep disorder who go on to develop a neurodegenerative condition such as Parkinson’s disease.        

About the author

Jonathan Warren

Jonathan Warren

Time4Sleep owner