Neurobiology and Pharmacology of Sleep Disorders in Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery

  • Amrita Ray
  • Michael J. Brenner
Living reference work entry


The Centers for Disease Control reports that over 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disturbances (Li et al. 2011), and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine identifies over 80 distinct sleep disorders (American Academy of Sleep Medicine 2005a). This number may actually be higher, as sleep disturbances are often underreported or mistaken as a consequence of other pathological or pharmacologic processes. Symptoms associated with sleep disorders, such as decline in memory, concentration, fatigue, or irritability, tend to be nonspecific, making it easy to overlook the contributing role that poor sleep plays. Progress in sleep research has revealed that sleep loss and drowsiness play a significant role in cognitive performance, in quality of life, and in causing catastrophic accidents. Growing awareness of sleep quality and habits has allowed us to pay closer attention to the many factors that influence sleep, including diet, mood, technology, and environmental factors. This chapter will provide an overview of the technical tools commonly utilized in both clinical and animal models of sleep studies with a small discussion on circadian sleep disorders. In the following section, we will examine translational animal research models used to study four of the most common human sleep disorders: insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and parasomnias, such as restless leg syndrome. Finally, we will discuss new developments in the field of optogenetics and their applicability in animal models for the advancement of sleep medicine. Please refer to the Appendix 1 for an overview of sleep medicine history. Information related to sleep/wake states, and the neurotransmitters involved, are in Appendix 2, followed by the pharmacologic drug classes implicated in sleep interference in Appendix 3.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sleep Apnea Sleep Disorder Intermittent Hypoxia Poor Sleep Quality 
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Tuning Arousal with Optogenetic Modulation of Locus Coeruleus Neurons

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kresge Hearing Research InstituteUniversity of MichiganMIUSA

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