The Function Of Sleep Behavior

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Across species, animals spend a substantial minority of their lives sleeping. In fact, humans spend on average approximately one-third of their lives asleep (Colten and Altevogt, 2006). With such devotion of time resources and the his tells us, from an evolutionary standpoint, that sleep is an important part of the success of an animal. But what fitness does sleep confer to an organism? Although sleep occurs across many species of animals, the function of sleep behavior is not fully understood. Studies might suggest that this behavior might play a role in several important processes, such as the regeneration of tissue and energy management (Sara, 2017, Rasch and Born, 2013). Recent work in the field suggests slow-wave sleep may fulfill…show more content…
As early as the 1950s, scientists have parsed the main stages of sleep. In one such study, eye movements, recorded by electrooculograms (EOG) correlated with the brain activity in electroencephalograms(EEGs) as well as respiratory rate, indicating the existence of distinct sleep states which were not randomly generated (Aserinsky and Klietman, 1953). The discovery of distinct states showed sleep was not just a passive behavior. Instead, it consists of three to four distinct states as well as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, each with their own unique brain activity.
While REM sleep has been in the scientific spotlight since its discovery for its role in consolidation of emotional memory (Sara, 2017), recently more studies have begun to focus on the role of slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep (SWS) encompasses the stage 3-4 subset of non-REM sleep and is characterized by delta waves that consist of slow oscillations of activity. This type of sleep occurs primarily at the onset of sleep and time spent in SWS declines in humans as aging occurs. SWS seems to be most important in the consolidation phase, though the mechanisms of this consolidation are still being explored in the scientific community. However, the method of this memory consolidation is currently a subject of hot debate. What caused scientists to link memory and sleep, particularly SWS? Research as early as 1914 began to point to a decrease in memory capacity capabilities
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