Endogenous central and peripheral circadian oscillators are key to organizing multiple aspects of mammalian physiology; this clock tracks the day-night cycle and governs behavioral and physiologic rhythmicity. Flexibility in the timing and duration of sleep and wakefulness, critical to the survival of species, is the result of a complex, dynamic interaction between 2 regulatory processes: the clock and a homeostatic drive that increases with wake duration and decreases during sleep. When circadian rhythmicity and sleep homeostasis are misaligned-as in shifted schedules, time zone transitions, aging, or disease-sleep, metabolic, and other disorders may ensue.
Keywords: Circadian rhythms; Homeostasis; Physiology; Sleep; Suprachiasmatic nucleus.
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