National Sleep Disorders Research Plan
arrow image Progress Since the 1996 National Sleep Disorders Research Plan


Progress Index:
Sleep Neurobiology
Circadian Biology
Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB)
Sleep Deprivation
Sleep Education

Research Recommendations
Research Training

The years since release of the original National Sleep Disorders Research Plan in 1996 have been remarkably eventful not only in terms of progress in the sleep sciences, but also in terms of lifestyle and activities of daily life that impact on sleep habits and behaviors. America is increasingly becoming a 24-hour per day society with ever-escalating expectations for around-the-clock services, information and entertainment. After the events of September 11th, 2001, we have also become a much more vigilant society. All of these lifestyle changes are directly impacting not only the number of hours Americans sleep each day but also when during the 24 hours that sleep occurs.

We are now beginning to understand the impact of chronic sleep loss or sleeping at adverse circadian times on our ability to function optimally and on our physical and mental health. How sleep loss, sleep displacement (e.g., shift work, jet lag), and a wide range of sleep disorders affect one's ability to maintain health and healthy functioning in this 24/7 world, however, remains relatively poorly understood. Thus, despite the scientific progress made since 1996 in both clinical and basic science related to sleep and its disorders, there remains the challenge and the need to discover the functions of sleep, to understand and develop better treatments for the many disorders affecting sleep, and to explain the nature of human physiology during wakefulness and the individual stages of sleep. Without progress in these areas, countless millions will continue to suffer the consequences of dysfunction and abuse of this most basic regulatory process. Progress in every area cannot be included in this Executive Summary, but the most important gains in knowledge and understanding will be discussed to provide a context for the research recommendations that follow.

The scientific areas most important in extending and translating the research gains made to date are summarized in the following paragraphs. The order in which they are listed does not reflect any prioritization; indeed, these individual recommendations are all important and of equivalent high priority.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Department of Health and Human Services (click here) First Gov Website (Click here)
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (Click Here) National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (Click Here)