The Brain and Sleep
And what you want to know
By Ethan K.
Why we sleepSleep is “extremely” interesting. And by extremely I mean extremely. Here are some pretty interesting topics about sleep. Now we shall go “DEEP” into the world of sleep!
Strange R.E.M sleepFirst, I want to talk about R.E.M sleep. R.E.M sleep is rapid eye movement. Almost all mammals have periods of R.E.M sleep. What happens to your body in R.E.M sleep is that your body is paralyzed, your muscles shut down, your blood pressure rises, breathing becomes erratic, and the brain is very active. The most elaborate dreams happen during R.E.M sleep. The patterns of the brain are consolidated. Your heart beat increases and your eyes start moving around. It lasts about 5 to 15 minutes each night.
Animals in the depths of sleep
Now, I want to talk about animals in sleep. Bats sleep 20 hours a day. Pet cats sleep about 16 hours a day. Giraffes and elephants get along with only 3 hours of sleep. Mice pass through the sleep cycle in only 9 minutes! Some animals prefer to sleep in different ways. Lions prefer to sleep on their backs. Sea otters sometimes sleep floating on their backs in water. Some animals do not dream such as the echidna. Some animals during hibernation produce no brain waves. Some animals such as the Doberman have narcolepsy.
The mysterious stages of sleepNow I want to talk about the stages of sleep. There are four stages of sleep plus R.E.M. During stage 1 you lose contact with the world around you as you fall asleep. During stage 2, you can easily be awakened. During stage 3, if you are whispered to you probably wouldn't hear it. Stage 4 is about 20 minutes and is the farthest from being awake as your brain can be. It is also the longest chunk of the night. The sleep cycle is repeated 5 times each night. Each cycle lasts 90 minutes. People with narcolepsy drift directly down into R.E.M sleep.
Lastly, I want to talk about dreams. Dreams do strange things. Dreams can feel very scary. You will have more than 1,000 dreams in an average year. Almost everyone dreams. People just don’t usually remember them. No one knows why we dream. Some people believe that dreams predict the future. If you dream of flying, you feel confident. Images may be symbols of something else. For example, a desert island could mean that you want to be alone. Dreams are actually the brain’s explanation of events in your life. Dreams link images together. Most scientists now agree that dreams are part of the brain’s housekeeping activities. The brain needs housekeeping to clear itself out to learn new things the next day.
Symbolic dreamsDreamers sprayed with water thought they were bathing, in rain, or it was a flood. Famous psychologist Sigmund Freud believed that dreams express unconscious conflicts and desires in symbolic form. Some scientists think that dreams are brain trash. It’s possible to control what happens in your dreams. Lastly, dreams are the weirdest events that go on in your brain.
Scientists know a lot about the brain such as the stages, dreams, and animals in sleep, but there are still many interesting secrets of sleep to be revealed.
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