The basic functions of sleep are still unclear, however, recent advances in genomics and proteomics have begun to contribute to our understanding of both normal and pathological sleep. In this review, we focus primarily on normal sleep and wake that have been studied in model organisms such as mice. Mice have been especially valuable since many different inbred strains exist that differ in sleep-related traits, and genes can be altered by either mutagenesis or targeted approaches. Advances in QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) analysis have also helped to identify important sleep related genes, and several other QTLs have been mapped as a first step toward finding the genes that underlie basic sleep traits. In addition to more traditional genetic approaches, the abundance of different mRNAs across sleep and wake can now be studied and compared in different brain regions much more thoroughly using microarray methods. Progress at the protein level has been more difficult, but a few studies have begun to investigate changes in proteins during sleep and wake, and we present some of our own preliminary data in this area. A knowledge of which genes and proteins control or respond to changes in sleep will not only help answer fundamental questions, but may also suggest novel drug targets for improving multiple aspects of sleep and wake.