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The average amount a human will sleep in their lifetime is 229,961 hours. Part of those 229,961 hours sleeping is spent dreaming. What are dreams? This question has fascinated the human race throughout history. From the Ancient Greeks and Romans, to Sigmund Freud in the late 1800’s, till now, people have queried what the mystical stories that play out in the sleeping mind are and why we have them. The Sumerians in Mesopotamia left evidence of dreams dating back to 3100 BC. According to these stories, gods and kings, like the 7th century BC scholar-king Assurbanipal, paid close attention to dreams. In his archive of clay tablets, some accounts of the story of the legendary king Gilgamesh were found (Seligman). The Mesopotamians…show more content…
During this stage, many people experience sudden muscle contractions preceded by a sensation of falling. In stage 2, eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with only an occasional burst of rapid brain waves. When a person enters stage 3, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves are interspersed with smaller, faster waves. In stage 4, the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. Stages 3 and 4 are referred to as deep sleep or delta sleep, and it is very difficult to wake someone from them. In deep sleep, there is no eye movement or muscle activity. This is when some children experience bedwetting, sleepwalking or night terrors. Usually, REM sleep occurs 70-90 minutes after someone has fall asleep. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes. Each REM stage gets longer, and the final one may last up to an hour. A sleeping individual's heart rate and breathing quickens. People experience more intense dreams during REM sleep, since the brain is more active. Dreams are constantly occurring throughout the sleep cycle so do not believe anyone who says they do not dream. Sleep and dreaming causes improved brain activity enabling people to function more productively. Matthew Wilson, a neuroscientist at the Picower Institute at M.I.T., during the early 1990s, was recording the neuron activity in the brains of rats as they navigated through a difficult maze. The machines translated
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