Insights from studying human sleep disorders

Nature 437, 1279-1285 (27 October 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04287; Published online 26 October 2005

Insights from studying human sleep disorders

Mark W. Mahowald1 & Carlos H. Schenck1


Problems with sleep are one of the commonest reasons for seeking medical attention. Knowledge gained from basic research into sleep in animals has led to marked advances in the understanding of human sleep, with important diagnostic and therapeutic implications. At the same time, research guided by human sleep disorders is leading to important basic sleep concepts. For example, sleep may not be a global, but rather a local, brain phenomenon. Furthermore, contrary to common assumptions, wakefulness, rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep are not mutually exclusive states. This striking realization explains a fascinating range of clinical phenomena.

1. Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center, and Department of Neurology (MWM) and Psychiatry (CHS) Hennepin County Medical Center, and University of MN Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415, USA.

Correspondence to: Mark W. Mahowald1 Email:
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