Sleep—usually not enough of it—is often both cause and effect of what ails us. From the common cold to heart disease, obesity, and cognitive disorders, sleep can be a significant factor in who gets sick and who doesn’t and how quickly we recover. And it doesn’t stop at the cellular level. Adequate sleep has huge implications for everything from air travel to nursing care to long-distance trucking. But how does sleep affect your performance? Is there a link between pain and slumber? Can you be just a little bit asleep? Two of the world’s leading sleep researchers are changing the way we think about sleep.

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Featuring: Gregory Belenky, M.D.

Gregory Belenky is a research professor at Washington State University Spokane, where he launched the Sleep and Performance Research Center—the first focus area of the Spokane Alliance for Medical Research. Dr. Belenky’s research ranges from basic to applied and includes sleep, sleep deprivation and continuous operations; combat stress reactions and post-traumatic stress disorder; and the neurobiology of human behavior and adaptation. His work has been funded by the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor, and several other sources. Before coming to WSU Spokane, Dr. Belenky held the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and served as Director of the Division of Neuroscience at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). Dr. Belenky pioneered the development of non-invasive ambulatory sleep/wake monitoring techniques and Palm OS-based performance tests such as the Palm Pilot psychomotor vigilance task, for the first time making possible studies of sleep and performance in normal and clinical populations going about their daily lives. He holds several patents on the Sleep Watch actigraph. It is the core of the U.S. Army’s developing Sleep Management System, a tool to enable commanders to effectively manage sleep to sustain performance in the operational environment.


Featuring: James M. Krueger, Ph.D.

James M. Krueger, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience at Washington State University, is an expert on the biochemical regulation of sleep, the relationships between sleep and infectious disease, and how the brain is organized to produce sleep. In 2006 he was presented with the Distinguished Scientist Award by the Sleep Research Society, the highest award presented by the society.

Dr. Krueger earned his postdoctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Doctorem Medicinae Honoris Causa from the University of Szeged, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Krueger also completed postdoctoral studies with John Pappenheimer at Harvard Medical School. In addition to his present position, he has held faculty positions at the University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School and the University of Tennessee Medical School.

His awards include a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research at Washington State University, the Board of Trustees Research Award at the Chicago Medical School, and an honorary award from Tokyo Medical and Dental University.