CE Pricing / Flex Credit

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Starts at $9.98 per contact hour
Min. Hours $$/Hr
4 hours $8.98
8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

Sleep and the Brain: What's the Connection?

1.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe the effects of sleep on brain health, the role of sleep in health, the impact of sleep deprivation on health, the stages of sleep, and conventional and integrative therapies for improving sleep.
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Do you wake up in the morning feeling sleepy? Do you feel sleepy during the day? A good night's sleep is as essential for your brain and your body as food and water. Sleep deprivation affects the brain in multiple ways, impairing judgment, affecting cognition, and slowing reaction times. Sleep quality affects our mental and physical health in ways science is just beginning to understand.

An audio reading of the content is available for this course

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe several current theories of sleep.
  • Examine the importance of sleep in maintaining a healthy brain and body.
  • Discuss the stages of sleep and the effect on the brain.
  • Describe the health effects of sleep deprivation.
  • Identify the most common sleep disorders.
  • Describe conventional and integrative treatments that support restorative sleep.

Much of a person's life is spent sleeping. In fact, about one-third of our lives are spent asleep. Sleep is vital to survival and most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Children and adolescents need at least 10 hours of sleep daily (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2017).

When we sleep well, we feel better, we are more energetic, and our nervous system functions more effectively. Sleeping, like eating, is a basic, life-sustaining function and it is regulated by powerful internal drives. Going without sleep, like going without food, produces uncomfortable sensations. Just like eating relieves hunger, sleeping relieves sleepiness and ensures we obtain the sleep we need (Harvard Medical School, 2007).


Several neurotransmitters contribute to normal sleep and wakefulness. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain, is considered the most important regulator of sleep. It inhibits the release of serotonin, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters. Melatonin, which helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, is a neurohormone synthesized by the pineal gland in humans and produced in animals as well as plants. Areas in the brainstem and the hypothalamus that promote wakefulness do so by sending arousal signals (called neurotransmitters) to the cerebral cortex, the brain’s largest region. When neurons in the arousal areas are active, the cortex remains activated and the person stays awake (Buscerni et al., 2004).

Changes in normal sleep and waking patterns can result from many factors, including medication side effects, substance abuse, lifestyle issues, and medical problems that directly or indirectly affect sleep-regulating neurotransmitters. When people do not receive adequate sleep or are chronically sleep deprived, every aspect of their lives suffers, contributing to profound physical and psychological disorders.

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Occupational Therapy Process

Course Expires:

October 01, 2020

  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.