Neuronal networks regulating the dynamic structure of sleep

Hanna Antila research group

Sleep influences our well-being by modulating many important functions, including emotion regulation, memory and learning. Sleep problems are associated with almost all psychiatric and neurological disorders and about 10% of the general population suffers from insomnia. Impaired sleep reduces the quality of life and disrupts the functions that sleep mediates.The structure of sleep is dynamic, consisting of various microarchitectural features that together define the quality and the stage of sleep. We still don’t know, however, why and how we transition from one sleep stage to another, or why these processes are disrupted in psychiatric disorders or by pharmacological agents.

Our research investigates the neuronal networks that are involved in the regulation of sleep microarchitecture. We focus especially on understanding how the normal sleep structure gets disrupted for example by stress or pharmacotherapy. We use mouse models to examine and manipulate the neuronal activity and neurotransmitter levels during sleep using fiber photometry, optogenetic tools and in vivo electrophysiology. Our goal is to understand better the underlying causes of sleep problems, prevent their harmful effects, and develop more effective, individualized options for their treatment.


Hanna Antila
Academy Research Fellow
P.O. Box 63, Haartmaninkatu 3, room E418, 00014 University of Helsinki