Request for Information: Response to Proposed NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan Critical Opportunities and Strategic Goals
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 27, 2021

Response Date:
May 31, 2021

Related Announcements


Issued by

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers. The following NIH Offices may co-fund applications assigned to those Institutes/Centers.

Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)


This is a time-sensitive Request for Information (RFI) to solicit input regarding revisions to the NIH Sleep Research Plan. It is issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR), on behalf of the trans-NIH Sleep Research Coordinating Committee (SRCC).


The NCSDR and participating NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices are in the process of updating the NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan, as required by the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (42 USC Sec. 285b-7), which calls for the development of a comprehensive plan that identifies priorities with respect to sleep disorders research and the revision of the plan as appropriate. The last NIH Sleep Disorders Research Plan was published in 2011 and is currently undergoing revision. The Critical Opportunities and Strategic Goals described below have been informed by an iterative process that included input from the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB), researchers, public participants attending SDRAB meetings, a designated session at the SLEEP 2017 meeting, and representatives of the trans-NIH Sleep Research Coordinating Committee and the previous RFI (see NOT-HL-16-312).

Information Requested

This RFI has been issued to seek input from the research community, stakeholders and interested members of the public. The information collected from this RFI will be used to refine the research plan. Specifically, the NIH request feedback on the following:

Strategic Goals

  • Goal 1: Elucidate the Sleep And Circadian Mechanisms Underlying Health And Disease
  • Goal 2: Improve the Treatment of Sleep & Circadian Disorders and Reduce Risks Associated with Sleep Deficiency
  • Goal 3: Identify the Gaps and Opportunities to Accelerate the Clinical Implementation of Sleep and Circadian Research to Protect Public Health
  • Goal 4: Advance the Scientific Understanding of Sleep & Circadian Contributions to Health Disparities, Populations, and Public Safety
  • Goal 5: Foster the Development of a Strong and Diverse Workforce for Sleep and Circadian Research

Critical Opportunities (CO)

  • CO1: Identify biomarkers in sleep and circadian physiology to indicate the severity of medical conditions and the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
  • CO2: Elucidate the significance of sleep and/or circadian biology to immune function and the microbiome.
  • CO3: Elucidate the relationships between sleep and circadian rhythms to clinical dementia outcomes and related pathologies, including Alzheimer’s dementia and related dementias as well as pathobiology associated with AD/ADRD.
  • CO4: Identify the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the perception of sleep quality, sleepiness, and fatigue.
  • CO5: Develop chronotherapeutic approaches to reduce and treat chronic diseases.
  • CO6: Develop tools and/or methods for the early prediction, detection, and treatment of sleep deficiency and/or sleep and circadian disorders in children and adolescents to promote lifelong health and wellbeing, and prevent disease.
  • CO7: Demonstrate how dissemination and implementation of high-quality care for sleep and circadian disorders can be improved by data science approaches in adaptive healthcare systems.
  • CO8: Embed omics-based approaches in real-world healthcare settings to facilitate personalizing treatments and cures for sleep and circadian rhythm disorders.
  • CO9: Identify people-driven approaches to improve awareness of sleep and circadian rhythms and promote healthy sleep behaviors for the benefit of public health and safety.
  • C10: Noticeable gaps or missing opportunities not included herein.

Emerging Opportunity:

  • Identify the highest impact or most critical research questions for both basic and clinical investigations of acute COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection and Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC).
  • Comments are strongly encouraged on opportunities that have been identified below.
  • The role of sleep and circadian disruption in risk of infection and severity of acute COVID-19 across vulnerable populations.
  • Sleep and circadian disruption as modifiers of COVID-19 pathobiology.
  • The contribution of sleep deficiency to COVID-19 long-term effects on the cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematological systems, cancer and other diseases.
  • Examine the bidirectional relationship between alcohol misuse and sleep disruption as modifiers of COVID-19 outcomes.
  • Examine the effects of chronic alcohol drinking on sleep quality and their contribution to other symptoms such as cognitive impairment, pain, and anxiety that are associated with Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC).
  • Determine how shift work and chronic sleep disruption combined with alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorder (AUD) may exacerbate COVID-19.
  • Disruption of sleep on women – due to factors such as care-taking responsibilities or burnout – and sleep disruption in pregnant populations.
  • Research questions relating to the role of sleep and circadian disruption in the effects of COVID-19 across the cancer continuum, from cancer risk factors to diagnosis and treatment to survivorship.
  • The impact of mitigation efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on sleep, mental health, and wellbeing.

If you are willing to do so, please indicate your primary affiliation/role from the categories listed below:

  • Academia (basic or clinical research);
  • Small Business;
  • Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology Industry;
  • Federal Government;
  • State Government;
  • Healthcare Professional organization;
  • Integrative Medicine Professional organization;
  • Patient Advocacy Group;
  • Country; and
  • Other (briefly define)

How to Submit a Response

All responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to the following webpage at by May 31, 2021.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The responses will be reviewed by NIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. The Government will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. The Government reserves the right to use any submitted information on public NIH websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH Institutes and Centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

We look forward to your input and hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.  


Please direct all inquiries to:

Marishka K. Brown, Ph.D.
Director, National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)/NIH

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