The principles of mathematics are being used by researchers to further their understanding of the sleep-wake cycle and how it can go awry.
Experts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have come up with a new computer model using mathematical equations to predict how different environmental, medical, or physical changes to a person's body affects their sleep.
Mark Holmes, Professor of Mathematics and his graduate student Lisa Rogers developed a massive 11-equation model of the sleep-wake cycle.
Holmes said: "We wanted to create a very interdisciplinary tool to understand the sleep-wake cycle. We based the model on the best and most recent biological findings developed by neurobiologists on the various phases of the cycle and built our mathematical equations from that foundation. This has created a model that is both mathematically and biologically accurate and useful to a variety of scientists."
Holmes continued: "We have developed a model that can serve other researchers as a benchmark of the ideal, healthy sleep-wake cycle.
"Scientists will be able to take this ideal model and predict how different disturbances such as caffeine or jet lag will impact that ideal cycle. This is a very non-invasive way to study the rain and sleep that will provide important clues on how to overcome these disturbances and allow patients to have better and more undisturbed sleep."