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Sleep regulatory factors

T. Porkka-Heiskanen


The state of sleep consists of different phases that proceed in successive, tightly regulated order through the night forming a physiological program, which for each individual is different but stabile from one night to another. Failure to accomplish this program results in feeling of unrefreshing sleep and tiredness in the morning. The pro- gram core is constructed by genetic factors but regulated by circadian rhythm and duration and intensity of day time brain activity. Many environmental factors modulate sleep, including stress, health status and ingestion of vigilance-affecting nutrients or medicines (e.g. caffeine). Knowledge of the factors that regulate the spontaneous sleep-wake cycle and factors that can affect this regulation forms the basis for diagnosis and treatment of the many common disorders of sleep.

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