An improved understanding of all aspects of the neurobiology
and functions of sleep is needed. These aspects include:
whereby the previously described and yet-to-be-identified cellular
systems that modulate state are connected to each other and
to other neural systems needs to be characterized. In addition,
the neuropharmacology and neuromodulators that mediate neural
signaling in sleep and wakefulness and their hierarchy in this
process need to be better understood. The genetic and p roteomic
mechanisms involved in the generation of sleep and wakefulness
also need elucidation. Finally, the phylogeny of sleep needs
to be further investigated to help define the functions of sleep.
basis of the two-process sleep system (homeostatic and circadian)
needs to be better characterized regarding the anatomical, physiological
and functional links between the two systems and the contribution
of each to altered sleep quality and timing.
is needed to better understand how developmental maturation
from the fetus to the adult influences all of the neurobiologic
processes described above. This would include studies addressing
how sleep itself influences neural development and how such
development affects sleep at the neurobiologic level.
needed of the neurobiological function of sleep as a whole and
the independent functions of NREM and REM sleep. Without some
grasp of the functional role of sleep in the behavior and survival
of an organism, it remains very difficult to understand the
development, neurobiology, and importance of sleep to physiologic
Enhance our understanding
of the impact of reduced or restricted sleep on behavior, and
neurobiologic and physiologic functions across the age spectrum
from childhood through old age. Studies in this area should
processes mediating sleepiness, state instability, and decrements
in specific aspects of neurocognitive performance and alertness:
this includes identification of brain structures, proteins,
and genes that mediate the neural basis of sleepiness and the
neurocognitive performance changes resulting from sleep loss.
Also, the neurobiologic processes mediating the restoration
of stable wakefulness, alertness and performance require further
A systematic delineation
is needed of the processes involved in, the mechanisms underlying,
and the developmental aspects of acute and chronic sleep deprivation
on non-neural systems. These systems include endocrine, cardiovascular,
immune, hematopoietic, renal, gastrointestinal and muscle.
The effects of sleep
loss on behaviors that diminish the safety of both the individual
and society in general need to be studied. This includes but
is not limited to the transportation industry, the armed services,
the space industry, health care, law enforcement and at-risk
jobs in the construction, manufacturing and service sectors.