How does the brain promote sleep?

Updated: Sep 11, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

The anterior hypothalamus includes the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO), containing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the peptide galanin, which are inhibitory and promote sleep (see the image below). These project to the TMN and the brainstem arousal regions to inhibit wakefulness.

Ventrolateral pre-optic nucleus inhibitory project Ventrolateral pre-optic nucleus inhibitory projections to main components of the arousal system to promote sleep.

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