Neurobiologic Mechanisms in Chronic Insomnia

Michael Perlis, Phillip Gehrman, Wilfred R. Pigeon, James Findley, Sean Drummond

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article discusses the notion that insomnia is too often described in solely psychological terms. It is proposed that a comprehensive perspective on insomnia requires one that takes into account the neurobiologic abnormalities that may also function as predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors for chronic Insomnia. To justify this claim, the reader is provided with a review of the neurobiology of sleep and wakefulness as it pertains to sleep initiation and maintenance problems, sleep state misperception, and such psychological factors as worry and attention bias. Following the review it is suggested that the temptation to define insomnia solely in neurobiological terms ("of the brain and by the brain") is also likely to be unproductive. Ultimately both sides of the equation must be taken into consideration and in a way that doesn't pander to dualism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-558
Number of pages10
JournalSleep Medicine Clinics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ARAS
  • Homeostasis
  • Inhibition of wakefulness
  • Insomnia
  • Neurobiology
  • VLPO

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