Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Dec;9(12):910-9. doi: 10.1038/nrn2521. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Sleep as a fundamental property of neuronal assemblies.

Author information

Department of VCAPP, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, PO BOX 646520, Pullman, Washington 99164-6520, USA.


Sleep is vital to cognitive performance, productivity, health and well-being. Earlier theories of sleep presumed that it occurred at the level of the whole organism and that it was governed by central control mechanisms. However, evidence now indicates that sleep might be regulated at a more local level in the brain: it seems to be a fundamental property of neuronal networks and is dependent on prior activity in each network. Such local-network sleep might be initiated by metabolically driven changes in the production of sleep-regulatory substances. We discuss a mathematical model which illustrates that the sleep-like states of individual cortical columns can be synchronized through humoral and electrical connections, and that whole-organism sleep occurs as an emergent property of local-network interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center