Sleep and respiratory physiology in adults

Mudiaga Sowho, Jason Amatoury, Jason P. Kirkness, Susheel Patil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Respiration during sleep is determined by metabolic demand; respiratory drive is determined by a central respiratory generator. Changes in pharyngeal dilator muscle tone resulting in increased upper airway resistance and collapsibility contribute to hypoventilation. Relative hypotonia of respiratory muscles, body posture changes, and altered ventilatory control result in additional physiologic changes contributing to hypoventilation. This article reviews mechanisms of central control of respiration and normal upper and lower airway physiology. Understanding sleep-related changes in respiratory physiology will help in developing new therapies to prevent hypoventilation in susceptible populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-481
Number of pages13
JournalClinics in Chest Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Control of breathing
  • Hypoventilation
  • Lower airway
  • Respiratory physiology
  • Sleep effects
  • Upper airway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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