The need to sleep is governed by two biological processes in the brain. One called sleep drive is homeostatic; the more we are awake, the more we have a need to sleep. When we sleep, sleep drive is reduced. We experience sleep drive as sleepiness. If we do not get enough sleep, either a night of no sleep or a sequence of nights of inadequate sleep, we experience a variety of changes in many of our mental and behavioral processes as well as many physiological consequences. Experimentally depriving research subjects of specific stages of sleep has helped to determine the consequences of missing out on those types of sleep. The other process that governs our sleep is a rhythmic one. Our circadian clock, located in our brain, endeavors to keep us awake and alert during the day but allows sleep during the night. Sleep drive and the circadian clock interact in what is known as the two-process model that can predict and thereby help us to understand many of the phenomena of sleep/wake.
- Sleep Deprivation
- Circadian Clock
- Sleep Loss
- Phase Response Curve
- Multiple Sleep Latency Test
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
Specific references to statements in this chapter that can be found in multiple, widely available sources are not included in the text. A selection of these sources is listed below and can also be consulted for verification or more detail.
(Kryger et al. 2011;
National Sleep Foundation web-site http://www.sleepfoundation.org/
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
Homeostasis is the process of trying to compensate for deviations from a standard or norm. The thermostat in your home engages in homeostasis when it turns on the furnace or air conditioner if the room becomes cooler or warmer than the desired temperature set on it.
Thinking and decision making which lead to movements.
You probably have experienced a brief loss of electrical power that temporarily shuts everything off, including your computer. This occurrence is similar to microsleeps that are intrusions of a few seconds of sleep causing the absence of alertness in the midst of waking. During a microsleep, a person appears to be staring off into space or the head may droop a bit.
Adler, T. (1993). Speed of sleep’s arrival signals sleep deprivation. American Psychological Association Monitor, 24, 20.
Anderson, C., & Horne, J. A. (2006). Sleepiness enhances distraction during a monotonous task. Sleep, 29, 573–576.
Cartwright, R. C. (2010). The twenty-four hour mind. New York: Oxford University Press.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Unhealthy sleep-related behaviors—12 States, 2009. Weekly Report, pp. 233–238.
Coren, S. (1998). Sleep deprivation, psychosis and mental efficiency. Psychiatric Times, 15, 1–3. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/54471?pageNumber=1.
Dement, W. C., & Carskadon, M. A. (1981). Cumulative effects of sleep restriction on daytime sleepiness. Psychophysiology, 18, 107–113.
Dijk, D. J., & Czeisler, C. A. (1994). Paradoxical timing of the circadian rhythm of sleep propensity serves to consolidate sleep and wakefulness in humans. Neuroscience Letters, 166, 63–68.
Eastman, C. I., & Burgess, H. J. (2009). How to travel the world without jet lag. Sleep Medicine Clinics, 4, 241–255.
Harrison, Y., & Horne, J. A. (1995). Should we be taking more sleep? Sleep, 18, 901–907.
Haslam, D. R. (1983). The incentive effect and sleep deprivation. Sleep, 6, 362–368.
Hensley, S. (2011). Wake up to your sleep deficit, America! Retrieved from http://m.npr.org/story/134257508.
Horne, J. (2006). Sleepfaring. New York: Oxford University Press.
Horne, J. (2010). Sleepiness as a need for sleep: When is enough, enough? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 34, 108–118.
Horne, J. (2011). The end of sleep: ‘Sleep debt’ versus biological adaptation of human sleep to waking needs. Biological Psychology, 87, 1–14.
Horne, J. A. (1988). Why we sleep. New York: Oxford University Press.
Horne, J. A., & Pettit, A. N. (1985). High incentive effects on vigilance performance during 72 hours of total sleep deprivation. Acta Psychologica, 58, 123–139.
Kryger, M. H., Roth, T. R., & Dement, W. C. (Eds.). (2011). Principles and practice of sleep medicine (5th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier.
Kryger, M. H., Roth, T., & Dement, W. C. (1989). Principles and practice of sleep medicine. Philadelphia: Elsevier.
Lee-Chiong, T. (2009). Polysomnography. In T. Lee-Chiong (Ed.), Somnology (pp. 72–80). Seattle: Amazon.
Leproult, R., & Van Cauter, E. (2010). Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism. Endocrinology Developments, 17, 11–21.
Moorcroft, W. H. (1993). Sleep, dreaming, and sleep disorders: An introduction (2nd ed.). Lanham: University Press of America.
Mullaney, D. J., Johnson, L. C., Naitoh, P., Friedmann, J. K., & Globus, G. G. (1977). Sleep during and after gradual sleep reduction. Psychophysiology, 14, 237–244.
National Sleep Foundation. (2011). Annual sleep in America poll exploring connections with communications technology use and sleep. Retrieved from http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/press-release/annual-sleep-america-poll-exploring-connections-communications-technology-use.
National Sleep Foundation web-site: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/.
Pilcher, J. J., & Huffcutt, A. L. (1996). Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: A meta-analysis. Sleep, 19, 318–326.
Pleban, R. J., Valentine, P. J., Penetar, D. M., Redmond, D. P., & Belenky, G. (1990). Characterization of sleep and body composition changes during ranger training. Military Psychology, 2, 145–156.
Sadeh, A. (2007). Consequences of sleep loss or sleep disruption in children. Sleep Medicine Clinics, 2, 513–520.
Van Dongen, H. P., Maislin, G., Mullington, J. M., & Dinges, D. F. (2003). The cumulative cost of additional wakefulness: Dose-response effects on neurobehavioral functions and sleep physiology from chronic sleep restriction and total sleep deprivation. Sleep, 26, 117–126.
Youngstedt, S. D., Kline, C. E., Zielinski, M. R., Kripke, D. F., Devlin, T. M., & Bogan, R. K. (2009). Tolerance of chronic 90-minute time-in-bed restriction in older long sleepers. Sleep, 32, 1467–1479 YourSleep.aasmnet.org.
© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Moorcroft, W.H. (2013). The Need to Sleep . In: Understanding Sleep and Dreaming. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6467-9_3
Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA
Print ISBN: 978-1-4614-6466-2
Online ISBN: 978-1-4614-6467-9