When they tried to publish their data, many experts simply didn’t believe it. The prevailing theory is that excessive sleep stems from a failure in the brain’s arousal system, not from some unknown sleep-inducing chemical. Plus, the field had been burned decades before, when another group had trumpeted the discovery of a new, naturally occurring sleep molecule—and been proven wrong. But after being rejected at several other top-tier scientific journals, the data from the Emory researchers appeared yesterday in Science Translational Medicine. Depending on how it is received by academia and the pharmaceutical industry, the study could lead to a new blockbuster sleeping pill, raking in billions of dollars and improving the lives of millions. Or it might fall flat.

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