Episode 16: Orexin & Suvorexant

Orexin is a ‘master controller’ of the sleep wake control system. It stimulates the wake-promoting system and stabilises the switching between wake and sleep. The unique role of orexin makes it an attractive target for manipulating sleep. Blocking orexin has been shown to be an effective strategy in insomnia, and drugs that block orexin, like suvorexant (Belsomra), are now available. Orexin replacement will also play a key role in managing narcolepsy in the future.

Dr Moira Junge (Health Psychologist) and Dr David Cunnington (Sleep Physician) host the monthly podcast, Sleep Talk, talking all things sleep.

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  • Contact us at: podcast@sleephub.com.au

Audio Timeline:

  • 00:00 – 01:25 Introduction
  • 01:25 – 07:43 What’s news in sleep?
    • 01:25 – 02:53 SCN2a gene mutation / sleep for carers
    • 02:53 – 04:14 Sleep in Australians – Sleep Health Foundation research
    • 04:14 – 05:17 World Sleep Day – Sleep Health Foundation campaign
    • 05:17 – 07:13 Melatonin – TGA registration
    • 07:13 – 07:43 Sleep walking research
  • 07:43 –  36:44 Theme – Orexin & Suvorexant
    • 07:43 – 12:07 Sleep wake regulation and role of orexin
    • 12:07 – 25:51 Guest interview – Daniel Hoyer: Orexin
    • 25:51 – 34:05 Clinical use of suvorexant (Belsomra)
    • 34:05 – 36:44 Orexin replacement in narcolepsy
  • 36:44 – 37:56 Clinical tip of the month – Map sleep symptoms to brain systems
  • 37:56 – 37:58 Pick of the month:
    • 37:56 – 40:35 Moira – Insomniac City – Book
    • 40:35 – 44:46 David – Sleep in Primitive Societies – journal article
  • 44:46 – 46:52 What’s coming up in sleep?

Next episode: April 3rd 2017 – Headaches and Sleep

Links mentioned in the podcast:


Guest interview:

Professor Daniel Hoyer is the Head and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Prof Hoyer completed his PhD in Pharmacology at the Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg in 1981 and conducted his postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, with his early research focusing on adrenoceptor and serotonin receptor pharmacology. Since then Prof. Hoyer has characterised a large number of peptide receptors, ligand gated-channels, and monoamine receptors. Over 300 publications and 5 patents document his interests in a wide variety of therapeutic targets including sleep disorders

Regular hosts:

Dr Moira Junge

Dr Moira Junge is a health psychologist working in the sleep field, who has considerable experience working with people with sleeping difficulties in a multidisciplinary practice using a team-based approach. Moira has consulted at Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre since 2008, and is actively involved with the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA). She has presented numerous workshops for psychologists wanting to learn more about sleep disorders, and is involved with Monash University with teaching and supervision commitments, as well as clinical involvement with the Monash University Healthy Sleep Clinic. She is one of the clinic directors at Yarraville Health Group which was established in 1998. In addition to her expertise in sleep disorders, her other areas of interest and expertise include smoking cessation, psychological adjustment to chronic illness, and grief and loss issues.

Dr David CunningtonDr David Cunnington is a sleep physician and director of Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre, and co-founder and contributor to SleepHub. David trained in sleep medicine both in Australia and in the United States, at Harvard Medical School, and is certified as both an International Sleep Medicine Specialist and International Behavioural Sleep Medicine Specialist. David’s clinical practice covers all areas of sleep medicine and he is actively involved in training health professionals in sleep. David is a regular media commentator on sleep, both in traditional media and social media, and blogs for the Huffington Post on sleep. David’s recent research has been in the area of non-drug, psychologically-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness in managing insomnia, restless legs syndrome and other sleep disorders.

Connect with David on Twitter or Facebook.

Need more information about how you can sleep better?

At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a comprehensive FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions.

Check our resources or take our Sleep Wellness Quiz for a free assessment of elements that may be keeping you from a good night’s sleep.

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