Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Sonya Bahar


Ricardo Flores

Paul E. Parris

Alexey Yamilov

Erik Herzog


Sleep and sleep cycles have been studied for over a century, and scientists have worked on modeling sleep for nearly as long as computers have existed. Despite this extensive study, sleep still holds many mysteries. Larger and more extensive sleep-wake models have been developed, and the circadian drive has been depicted in numerous fashions, as well as incorporated into scores of studies. With the ever-growing knowledge of sleep comes the need to find more ways to examine, quantify, and define it in the context of the most complex part of the human anatomy – the brain. Presented here is the development of a computational model that explores the activity of individual neurons, modeled with coupled nonlinear ordinary differential equations, in key sleep-related brain regions. The activity patterns of the individual neurons are studied, as well as their synchronization with other neurons within the same region. The model is expanded into two separate interacting hemispheres, whose activity and synchronization reveal chimera-like activity. Multiple different perspectives on jetlag are presented, exploring the impact of circadian rhythm changes. Unihemispheric sleep, the unusual form of sleep exhibited by some ocean creatures and species of birds, is observed, as well as asymmetric sleep, which occurs in human subjects suffering from sleep apnea. These investigations provide a new perspective on the intricate balance between the neural activity in different brain regions that drives the essential phenomenon that is sleep.