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Sick and tired: how molecular regulators of human sleep schedules and duration impact immune function.

  • Author(s): Kurien, Philip A;
  • Chong, SY Christin;
  • Ptáček, Louis J;
  • Fu, Ying-Hui
  • et al.

Why do we need to sleep? What regulates when we sleep? And what dictates the number of hours we require? These are often viewed as three separate biological questions. Here, we propose they share molecular etiologies, whereby regulators of sleep schedules and sleep duration also govern the physiological purposes of sleep. To support our hypothesis, we review Mendelian human genetic variants sufficient to advance sleep-wake onset (PER2) and shorten sleep length (DEC2), and evaluate their emerging roles in immune responses that may rely on a sound night of slumber.

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