Sleep remains one of the most mysterious yet ubiquitous animal behaviors. We review current perspectives on the neural systems that regulate sleep/wake states in mammals and the circadian mechanisms that control their timing. We also outline key models for the regulation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, how mutual inhibition between specific pathways gives rise to these distinct states, and how dysfunction in these circuits can give rise to sleep disorders.
Keywords: REM sleep; arousal; chemogenetics; circadian; hypocretin; monoamines; non-REM sleep; optogenetics; orexin; pharmacogenetics; wake.
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