Last night you couldn’t get to sleep until the wee hours, and today you can’t seem to concentrate on anything. You know the two are related, but how? A new study led by NYU Langone Medical Center and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that just a few nerve cells in the brain may control the switch between internal thoughts and external distractions. The findings, published in Cell, may represent a breakthrough in understanding how the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) – a vital part of the brain — influences consciousness.

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