National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) supports research, technology innovation, training, health education, and other activities that advance scientific knowledge of sleep disorders and circadian biology, and that promote sleep health. The NCSDR also coordinates sleep and circadian biology research throughout the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other Federal agencies. Located within the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the NCSDR was established by Congress as part of the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (42 USC Sec. 285b-7)

Under that act, the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB) makes recommendations and assists with the development of a comprehensive NIH plan that identifies sleep and circadian research priorities. Read the 2021 NIH Sleep Research Plan.

NIH funds sleep and circadian research through investigator-initiated and Institute-initiated programs. 

Mission
- National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) promotes sleep and circadian scientific advances, from laboratory research to clinical practice, to improve scientific knowledge, transform health care, and advance public health and safety and the well-being of the nation.

Infographic on the National Center of Sleep Disorders Mission. See content below image for details.

The NCSDR works toward achieving its mission in the following ways:

  • Advancing scientific knowledge in essential research areas including chronobiology, neurophysiology, gene expression, epigenetics, and proteostatis. 
  • Transforming health care using chronomedicine, clinical interventions, and patient-centered strategies, including measuring epidemiological risks and risk stratification.
  • Advancing well-being by considering the impact of social determinants of health, health disparities, and individual and community-based interventions on health outcomes.
  • Improving public health and safety by promoting sleep health awareness and related risk prevention at worksites, schools, housing and in transportation through technologies such as solid-state lighting.

One enduring strategy the NCSDR uses to achieve this mission is by fostering a strong and diverse workforce.

What We Do
- National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

Chronobiology and Ventilatory Control

The chronobiology and ventilatory control portfolio supports basic and clinical research that explores how circadian science applies to the development, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, lung, blood disorders. The portfolio also includes research  that describes neural and peripheral mechanisms of breathing control, chemoreception, and the integration of breathing with other functions (e.g., coughing and swallowing). Research in this portfolio is performed using a range of approaches, from studying genes (genomics) to conducting clinical trials. The research addresses current public health concerns, such as the role of sleep, circadian regulation, and ventilatory control in maternal morbidity and mortality, opioid use disorder, and obesity.

Contact: Aaron D. Laposky, Ph.D., laposkya@nhlbi.nih.gov


Neurobiology of Sleep

The sleep and neurobiology portfolio supports studies on the neurobiological mechanisms of sleep and its disorders, as well as analyses of the diverse influences on these processes. Investigations include explorations of the roles of identified physiological and pathological mechanisms in sleep and the use of genetic and genomic approaches to uncover novel factors affecting sleep. The research also explores the connections between sleep disorders, health disparities, and social determinants of health. This portfolio includes  computational models, animal models, and clinical investigations of the mechanisms of sleep disorders and their consequences. It also includes a variety of training grant mechanisms , particularly institutional training grants (T32) focused on sleep and circadian rhythms.  

Contact: Lawrence Baizer, Ph.D., baizerl@mail.nih.gov


Prevention and Sleep Health

The prevention and sleep health portfolio supports research focused on the relationship between healthy sleep and physical health and well-being, and chronic disease prevention. Studies include investigations into modifying sleep-wake patterns and sleep behaviors to improve health across the life span, and social determinants that contribute to sleep health disparities and impact special populations. This portfolio also includes training and career development grant mechanisms, and Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) grant mechanisms for innovative research to develop novel devices and interventions that improve healthy sleep and adherence to treatment.

Contact: Shilpy Dixit, Ph.D., shilpy.dixit@nih.gov


Sleep Disorders Medicine

The sleep disorders medicine portfolio supports research on the genetic predisposition, risk factors, pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of sleep and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders. This includes research examining the role of sleep in inflammation, cardiometabolic disorders, vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia, and people living with Down syndrome as part of the NIH INCLUDE program. Additionally, this program supports studies using big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and clinical trials to explore sleep and circadian disorders.

Contact: Alfonso Alfini, Ph.D., alfonso.alfini@nih.gov

NIH and Inter-Agency Coordination
- National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

Sleep disorders, circadian biology, and sleep health relate to a multitude of biological systems, health conditions, and medical disciplines. That is why a coordinated and collaborative approach must be used to successfully advance sleep and circadian science, foster technology transfer, expand training, transform health care, and increase dissemination of health information to advance well-being and improve public health and safety.

The NCSDR serves as the point-of-contact for researchers, professional societies, non-governmental stakeholders (public, private, and nonprofit groups), and other Federal agencies interested in NIH sleep research activities.

The NCSDR director serves as the Executive Secretary of the SDRAB, an Advisory Board composed of Members and Ex Officio Members and led by a member-elected chairperson.  

The NCSDR leads the NIH-wide Sleep Research Coordinating Committee, a forum to discuss and consider potential opportunities for programmatic coordination of biological and circadian rhythms research and other sleep-related research, training, and health information dissemination. 

The NCSDR fosters the coordination of sleep and circadian research among other Federal agencies, including:

The NCSDR director and staff meet regularly with sleep and circadian researchers, professional societies, and other stakeholders to gather feedback and offer updates.

Healthcare Provider Resources
- National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

NCSDR works to turn research findings into health information that benefits the public. It does this, in part, by educating healthcare professionals about the results of sleep disorders research and offering resources they can share with their patients and families.

The NHLBI Online Catalog lists all NHLBI publications and resources for healthcare professionals, including summaries of the latest sleep science and clinical care best practices. It also lists educational materials that help answer patients’ questions about sleep and sleep disorders.

Patient and Public Education Resources
- National Center on Sleep Disorders Research

The NHLBI website features health information on sleep-related health topics for patients, caregivers, and the public. To find links to topics such as insomnia, sleep deprivation and deficiency, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and sleep studies, go to the Sleep Health webpage and click on the Health Topics icon. You can also find there a link to Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, as well as information about participating in a clinical trial.

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National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, NHLBI, NIH
6701 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
United States