Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings.

There is a continual investigation into the mechanisms of sleep. Although current studies have confirmed that multiple brain regions are involved in the regulation of both sleep and wakefulness, the association between certain important brain regions such as the insula, and sleep is still unclear.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to systematically review studies on the insula and sleep and to discuss the relationship between the insula and sleep.

Wang et al. searched PubMed and Web of Science Core Collection (WoSCC) for articles on sleep and the insula. The time span was from inception to June 30, 2022. The search results were then narratively summarized.

A total of 939 studies were identified in PubMed and WoSCC of which 115 studies were finally included in the narrative synthesis. These 115 studies can be roughly divided into 41 studies on insomnia, 39 on sleep deprivation, 33 on sleep-related experiments examining the insula, and 2 studies using basic experiments.

The combined findings of many sleep-related studies have confirmed a close link between the insula and insomnia, sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, and more. Although these results do not directly confirm that the insula is involved in sleep, an overall analysis of the results indicates that the insula may be a potential key brain region involved in sleep 1).

Wang Y, Li M, Li W, Xiao L, Huo X, Ding J, Sun T. Is the insula linked to sleep? A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Heliyon. 2022 Nov 5;8(11):e11406. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11406. PMID: 36387567; PMCID: PMC9647461.
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