NREM Sleep

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Sleep affects our daily functioning and our physical and mental health. It is characterized by a number of things such as a reduction on voluntary movement, decreased reaction to external stimuli, an increased rate of anabolism, decrease rate of catabolism, a stereotypic posture, and reversibility. The sleep cycle consists of two types of sleep and five stages. Stages 1-4 are NREM (non rapid eye movement) sleep, while stage 5 is REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. REM sleep is characterized by low amplitude, high frequency EEG (electroencephalography) rhythms, whereas NREM sleep involves high amplitude, low frequency rhythms (Dave & Margoliash, 2000). NREM sleep accounts for 75%-80% of our sleep and REM sleep the rest. During stage 1, it is light…show more content…
Extremely slow brain waves, called delta waves, appear in stage 3, interspersed with smaller, faster waves. By stage 4, the brain exclusively produces delta waves. During stages 3 and 4 it is very difficult to wake someone up, this is called deep sleep. At this time there is no eye movement or muscle activity. The last stage is when we switch into REM sleep. Our breathing becomes faster, irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly and different directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed. As our blood pressure rises, our heart rate increases as well. At this stage the brain is most active and people experience vivid dreams. The sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes and repeats between 3-6 times, depending on the person. During sleep, there is recovery of energy stores and thus restoration of energy balance. (Scharf, Naidoo, Zimmerman, &Pack,…show more content…
When we sleep, important connections are strengthened and unimportant ones are pruned (Ghosh, 2015). Sleep is also an opportunity for the brain to be cleared of any unwanted waste and plays an important role in memory consolidation. Benington and Heller, researchers at Stanford, stated, “Sleep has therefore evolved as a state in which animals retreat to a safe environment, behavior is suppressed, and glycogen stores are replenished.” Sleep serves as a survival function. Without it, it interferes with information processing and specifically learning and memory (Nierenberg, 2016). This makes it more difficult for people to respond to their environment, have motivation to do things, and to recover from stress. A vital role of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories (“Why do we sleep?, n.d.). Sleep consolidates memories and enhances learning, when getting the right amount. Sleeping betters your health by improving your immune system. It can also benefit things such as decreasing pain, allowing the body to heal, having a better mood, and being a much more clearer thinker (Breus, n.d.). Healthy sleep is critical for everyone, since we all need to retain information and learn skills to thrive in life (“Why do we need sleep?”,
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