November 20, 2019
Sleep is an essential and conserved behavior. While the exact function(s) of sleep are not known, sleep plays a clear role in supporting cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Our data suggests that neuronal synapses are modified during sleep, forming part of the basis for the restorative benefits of sleep. We are working to test the idea that sleep may perform unique functions during development and in adulthood. Sleep disruption is associated with many conditions including Autism spectrum and Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that loss of sleep may be a source of vulnerability and an important therapeutic target. Novel therapies based on knowledge of the restorative basis of sleep may be useful in the treatment of a broad range of conditions.