There are many different types of sleep. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is one type. This stage of sleep has many similarities to drowsiness, but is distinct from it in that it involves rapid fluctuations in bodily activity. The REM stage is considered to be the most dreamlike state. The brain is able to tune out the external world and focus on internal affairs.
Sleep is necessary for the body and brain. Sleeping enough will help the body repair itself and restore the energy it needs for a productive day. Research shows that a lack of sleep will affect your immune system and growth. A lack of sleep can also reduce your body’s ability to fight germs and other infections. As you drift off to sleep, you’ll notice that the room is quieter and that your eyelids are heavier.
A recent study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that inadequate sleep can contribute to inflammatory bowel disease. Getting enough sleep helps the body regulate blood pressure, reduces the risk of other diseases and promotes better heart health. Sleep is also linked to social intelligence, including our ability to recognize others’ feelings and facial expressions. A study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that inadequate sleep affects people’s responses to emotional stimuli.
Sleep patterning changes significantly throughout the life cycle. As we grow older, sleep patterns transition from polyphasic to monophasic, and between morning and nighttime sleep. In infants, sleep patterning is typically more variable, with infants and toddlers experiencing six or seven periods of sleep per day. They may also have nocturnal feedings.
Sleep allows the body and brain to rest and recover from exertion during the day. Without adequate sleep, we experience drowsiness and impaired ability to think. In addition, a lack of sleep affects our energy levels and mood. So, it’s important to get enough sleep every night to prevent these problems from affecting your life.
In addition to the REM stage, non-REM sleep starts with a light “N1” stage and then progresses to the deep “N3” stage. Non-REM sleep reduces the activity of the brain and slows most of the body’s functions. Approximately half of the night is spent in this phase. The scientists believe that during this time you are filing away long-term memories.
Sleep is important for all aspects of the human body. Without it, there are increased risks of depression, migraines, and high blood pressure. It also has a profound effect on the immune system. Chronic lack of sleep weakens the body’s resistance to diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Even one night without sleep can put you into a prediabetic state.
During the first two stages of NREM sleep, alpha activity is absent, while the brain experiences rapid theta activity. As a result, the brain experiences large spikes and drops of muscle tone. A person in this stage may easily be awakened, experience sudden muscle contractions, or even fall.