Influence of nicotine and alcohol on sleep latency: the reward-attention circuit model
We previously developed a neurocomputational model called the reward-attention circuit, which has been used to investigate the separate effects of nicotine and alcohol on attention focus. The model is based on known circuits linking midbrain dopaminergic neurons to the thalamocortical loop and is sufficiently versatile to capture diverse phenomena. In this work, we used the model to study the influence of both nicotine and alcohol on sleep latency (time to fall asleep). In line with findings from other studies, our simulations suggest that nicotine can have a stimulating effect that increases sleep latency, promoting wakefulness, and, in contrast, alcohol can have a sedating effect that induces sleep. Together, our results suggest insights into alterations in mesothalamic dopamine activity and sleep. Also, they raise speculations about aspects of insomnia and low mesothalamic dopamine.