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


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

Progress since 1996
Research Recommendations
Research Training

Sleep Neurobiology:

The discovery in 1998-99 of hypocretin/orexin and its role in the development of narcolepsy in animal models and in humans revolutionized our understanding of this debilitating disorder and promises important advances in the diagnosis and therapy of human narcolepsy. Discovery of the neuromodulatory role of hypocretin/orexin also greatly improved our understanding of the basic neurobiologic processes that control sleep and wakefulness. Anatomic areas promoting sleep such as the ventrolateral preoptic (VLPO) area of the hypothalamus have also been characterized. New anatomical and physiological approaches have led to advances in our understanding of the location and interconnections between hypothalamic and brainstem circuits controlling REM, nonREM, and wake states. Factors regulating the activity of these sleep-controlling neurons have been identified. Circuitry and neurotransmitter mechanisms controlling muscle tone across the sleep cycle, of relevance to numerous sleep pathologies, have also been identified.

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)