What processes control sleep

What processes control sleep? 

There are two main intrinsic processes that influence the sleep cycle: homeostasis and circadian rhythm.

Homeostasis, also known as process S , regulates the length and depth of sleep. The drive may be regulated by the accumulation of adenosine during prolonged periods of wakefulness.

After a prolonged period of wakefulness, there is an increased tendency to sleep. Circadian rhythm, also known as process C , is the internal process that directs the quality of sleep and duration of the sleep–wake cycle.

The master circadian clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the ventral hypothalamus.

There are also different neurons and neural networks that maintain wake, NREM, and REM sleep.


Crabtree V, Williams N: Normal sleep in children and adolescents. Child Adolesc Psychiatric Clin N Am 18:799-811, 2009.


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