The Science of Sleep
By: Caleb Heinz
REM and NREM Sleep
- REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement (shortest stage of sleep)
- NREM stands for Non-Rapid Eye movement sleep and is also known as slow wave or delta sleep (longest/deepest stage of sleep)
What controls sleep?
- The Hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls sleep. So whenever you awaken, you know that this part of your brain just sent a signal to other parts of your brain telling you to wake up.
- The main part of the Hypothalamus that controls this is the Ventrolateral Preoptic Nucleas (VLPO). So right before you become concious your VLPO just recieved a signal that it should sound your internal alarm and get you out of bed.
- The Tuberomamillary Nucleus (TMN) controls arousal and the Circadian Rhythm (your body clock).
Sleep is influenced by...
- Homeostatic Sleep Drive (the desire to sleep that gets stronger the longer you're awake).
- Circadian Rhythms (what controls sleep, arousal, body temperature, and bodily fluids).
- Circadian Alerting System, CAS (heartbeat-dependant signal that helps you wake up).
Consequences of sleep deprivation
- Affects brain functionality
ex. an "All nighter" can make you experience grumpiness, grogginess, irratability, forgetfulness, and shortened attention span.
- If sleep deprivation continues for up to 17hrs your language, memory, plannig, and sense of time are all severely affected.
Benefits of sleep
- Sleep gives your brain a time to recharge and get ready for the next day.
- Sleep makes you feel happier and more alert.
- Sleep is essential in the brain development of infants and young children. It helps them develop their motor (physical) and cognitive (mental) skills.