63. Sleep research in the USA

12 May 2011 at 19:25 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | 6 Comments
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Funding of sleep research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is prioritized according to the National Sleep Disorders Research Plan.  The plan resulted from 1993 legislation establishing the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research with the mandate, in part, to:

  • Conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other activities with respect to a basic understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, including research on biological and circadian rhythms, chronobiology, and other sleep-related topics.

The first such plan was dated 1996.  The second and current one is from 2003:  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/res_plan/sleep-rplan.pdf  

The present Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board, chaired by Charles A. Czeisler and with Michael Twery as Executive Director, has been working for a year or so on a revision.  The 2011 research plan will provide a guide for future scientific sleep and circadian research, both basic and clinical.

While the 2003 plan is organized under such headings as Basic sleep science, Enabling technology, and Pediatrics, the 2011 plan will be organized around research goals.

The draft of April 2011 contains five goals.  They are concerned with, in short version:

  1. Sleep and circadian functions and mechanisms
  2. Factors contributing to sleep and circadian disorders and disturbances
  3. Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sleep and circadian disorders and circadian disruption
  4. Dissemination of sleep and circadian research findings
  5. Sleep and circadian research training, to accelerate the pace of discovery

There appears to be a greatly increased emphasis on circadian disorders and research in this draft.  The word ‘sleep’ appears seldom alone; it’s always ‘sleep and circadian’.

Those of us with circadian abnormalities are perhaps most happy with goal 4.  Health care professionals, educators, policy makers and the general public are at present largely unaware of the results of research to date, and the resulting ignorance leads to misdiagnosis of most of us.  The research community knows a great deal more than the medical community does, and dissemination of that knowledge should have high priority.


Next post:  64.  Circadian Sleep Disorders Network



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  1. Well, i´m javier from Argentina, i want yo to apologize because i don´t know a lot of english. Well i have dsps about when i was 15. now 24, and of course i suffered a lot this.
    Well one day come to Argentina my cousin, that live in England, and i comment my problem, and he said that he has a friend that was born in other country and then he move to England, and he says that he follow the same time to sleep that in his country. When in his country is the night, in england is after noon (4 pm) and he sleep “his night”. My cousin mention that his friend has now 4 years living in england and never can change his schedule to sleep.
    In this way, i never see a research about a person DSPS living in other country….
    ¿he wil have the same schedule about sleep, that in his country?
    (Example if in his country he get to sleep at 6 am, and in the new country is 6 pm, he will got sleep at this hour?)

    Or he will get only the pattern… awake in night, sleep in day ?

    Well i ask to the authors of this blog, that analize this and go ahead with an answer. I don´t have doubt to go to another country to live, if this can be the solution. It´s my only hope.

  2. Hello Javier Matias,
    Your cousin’s friend’s story is unusual or maybe impossible. When I travel westward to another country, I can wake up in the morning for a week, maybe for two weeks. Then the usual DSPS re-asserts itself. That’s the way it is for others I’ve talked to, too. So I don’t think moving will help you, sorry to say.

  3. Well i don´t understand something, we said, that dsps people have the inability to reset the circadian clock, then for example if i travel with my clock, with the hour of argentina, to australia, why i can´t follow my sleep/wake like the pattern in Argentina? I imagine that when my clock said 4-5 a.m i will start to sleep not considering if in australia is the day or the night, because my own biological clock said that “is this the hour to sleep”. Well i apologyze my english, and well i hope it can be understand my explanation.

  4. DSPS people do have the ability to reset their clocks in a new time zone. Our day is at the wrong time in relation to the daylight, wherever we are. We adjust to the daylight pattern in a new time zone in a few days. I do understand your English, and I hope I’ve explained this well enough.

  5. Yes, now i understand. The key here is the night. Don´t matter where we go, our biological rhythm adapt better to stay wake in the night.

  6. Wow! Thanks for this post. Everything is in detail and you really can follow through. I will definitely recommend this site to my friend who is a DSPS. Thanks and please keep on posting.

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