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Sleep Research

The Sleep Research Laboratory is led by director David M. Penetar, Ph.D. and is located in the NeuroImaging Center of McLean Hospital. Originally established by Drs. Cynthia M. Dorsey and Scott E. Lukas (who remains as the technical director), the Sleep Research Laboratory remains dedicated to conducting experimentation in pursuit of gaining scientific understanding of human sleep physiology and behavior. Past and present experimentation in the Sleep Research Laboratory covers a broad spectrum of research interests comprised of our goals of conducting clinical experimental sleep research and clinical trial research.

Our research attempts to characterize the relationship between sleep and physical and mental health. One primary focus has been the investigation of the causes and consequences of disordered sleep. Within this area of study, we have directed interests in understanding sleep in psychiatric disorders, the neurocognitive and behavioral effects of insomnia, and the efficacy and mechanisms of action of behavioral therapy and of sedative hypnotics.

Another primary focus of the Sleep Research Laboratory is the examination of the interaction of sleep physiology and behavior with drugs of abuse. Research from our laboratory has attempted to provide a greater understanding of the interactions between sleep physiology and behavior with drug addiction. For example, research has both examined the effects of drugs of abuse on sleep, the effects of disordered sleep in drug-dependent populations, and the effects of sleep loss in drug-taking behaviors. Understanding the contribution of sleep loss in increasing drug-relapse potential and in perpetuating drug use remains of particular interest to our research group.

The Sleep Research Laboratory has participated in over 20 industry-sponsored studies and maintains an active clinical trials program.

Click here to learn more about the research and training opportunities at the SRL.