Physiology of Sleep (SLEE5006)


Aims: To understand cardiorespiratory control as it relates to sleep; to recognize the physiological mechanisms underlying the characteristic EEG of different sleep stages; to understand how motor control changes during the sleep cycle and the importance of this in regulation of sleep; to understand the regulation of homeostasis during sleep.
Content: Respiratory Control I: Review of respiratory control mechanisms and neuroanatomy. Central circuits involved in respiratory control and changes in the modulation of these central control mechanisms during the sleep cycle. Respiratory Control II:Control of ventilation alters during sleep. Responses to hypoxia and hypercapnia will be discussed. In addition, the pattern of respiration during the sleep cycle and the influence of altered arousal and muscle tone on this system will be included in this module. Cardiovascular Control I: Central and autonomic regulation of cardiovascular function during the sleep cycle. Sleep-dependent changes in cerebral and peripheral circulation. Cardiovascular Control II: Integration of cardiovascular and respiratory control mechanisms. The peripheral chemoreceptor and baroreceptor mechanisms. Brain Electrical Activity: Characteristics of EEG and EOG in REM and NREM sleep and wakefulness. Cellular origins of EEG signals. Low frequency oscillations of corticothalamic origin during NREM - spindle, delta and slow waves. Brainstem and thalamic circuits involved in arousal and REM. The Brainstem and REM Sleep: This module describes the ontogeny of REM sleep and the brainstem sites of generation.
Motor Control During Sleep: During the sleep cycle, somatic muscle activity is reduced during NREM and centrally inhibited during REM. The process underlying these changes are complex and will be introduced in this module.
Physiological Function During Sleep: Homeostatic mechanisms during sleep including control of temperature regulation and metabolism.

Further unit of study information


~2 hours online lectures over 1 semester plus directed reading and independent study


1x1500 word essay (30%), 1xonline quiz (20%), 1xexam (50%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.