The brainstem regulates vital cardiac and respiratory functions and acts as a vehicle for sensory information.
The medulla oblongata controls autonomic functions and connects the higher levels of the brain to the spinal cord.
The pons is a relay station between the forebrain and cerebellum that passes sensory information from the periphery to the thalamus.
The midbrain plays a major role in both wakefulness and regulation of homeostasis.
The reticular formation assists in regulation of the sleep cycle and detecting sensory salience.