Circadian control of the sleep-wake cycle

Domien G. M. Beersma*, Marijke C. M. Gordijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

It is beyond doubt that the timing of sleep is under control of the circadian pacemaker. Humans are a diurnal species; they sleep mostly at night, and they do so at approximately 24-h intervals. If they do not adhere to this general pattern, for instance when working night shifts or when travelling across time zones, they experience the stubborn influence of their circadian clock. In recent years much has been discovered about the organisation of the circadian clock. New photoreceptor cells in the retina have been found to influence the input to the clock, and much of the molecular machinery of the clock has been unravelled. It is now known that the circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness is only loosely coupled to the circadian rhythm of the pacemaker. New theories have been proposed for the functions of sleep and the sites at which those functions are executed. In spite of this rapid increase in knowledge of the circadian clock and of sleep regulatory processes, much remains to be discovered concerning the precise interaction between the biological clock and sleep timing. This is particularly unfortunate in view of the 24-h demands of our society for 7 days a week. Too little is known about the negative consequences of the societal pressures on well-being and performance. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-195
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Volume90
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28-Feb-2007

Keywords

  • circadian rhythm
  • sleep regulation
  • mathematical models
  • two-process model
  • opponent processes model
  • SLOW-WAVE ACTIVITY
  • RETINAL GANGLION-CELLS
  • EEG POWER-DENSITY
  • SUPRACHIASMATIC NUCLEUS
  • 3-PROCESS MODEL
  • GENE-EXPRESSION
  • FUNCTIONAL-ANALYSIS
  • BRAIN GLYCOGEN
  • DEPRIVATION
  • RHYTHMS

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