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Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2007;72:35-46. doi: 10.1101/sqb.2007.72.065.

Biological Rhythms Workshop IC: sleep and rhythms.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Rhythms of sleep and wakefulness (typically measured as rest/activity rhythms) are among the most prominent of biological rhythms and therefore were among the first to be recorded in early chronobiological studies. These rhythms can provide useful information about the central biological clock, although an appreciation of the problems associated with using rest/activity to infer central clock function is important in the design and interpretation of chronobiological experiments in both animals and humans. Here, we review the anatomical and neurophysiologic bases of sleep regulation in mammals as well as similarities and differences between the sleep of humans and that of other organisms. We outline how human sleep is measured, the role of the circadian system in models of human sleep regulation, and human circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Although the function of sleep is still not completely understood, sleep has a critical role for human health, and we have attempted to outline the role that the circadian timing system has in regulating human sleep and in contributing to sleep disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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