An Exploration Of Sleeps Effects On The Brain

3155 words - 13 pages

Coming from a teenager, sleep is a beautiful thing that when I wake up at noon it allows me to feel fully revived and ready to seize what is left of the day. The great historic, Benjamin Franklin, once said of sleep, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Nobody every really needed to prove the healthy part of his saying because most people know that after sleeping the body seems to gain energy. The second part to his statement probably could use a bit of proving because whenever I try that I never see a paycheck. The last part though is the part that I am most interested in, could having a better night’s sleep really make me a more intelligent individual? I didn’t know, the question nagged at my brain for a long time so I began to research the topic. At first it seemed I would be able to find my answer in an obvious way but there was more to it, a deeper understanding of how sleep is changing and affecting your brain and body through a single night’s sleep. Frankly, I found the answer I was looking for and I want people to know what I’ve found and not just what they learned from sleeping till noon every weekend of their high school career. It is common knowledge that sleep is very important for the human body, but it is also imperative for brain function as a way to improve learned skills and to increase memory.
In order to understand how sleep effects the body and brain the first thing that needs to be understood is what exactly is sleep and how does it consist of Sleep. Although, on the surface simple and calming it is actually an intricate association of different levels of brain activity and body homeostasis. The first division of sleep is based on surprisingly the movement of eyes during sleep; the two categories are known as Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM). NREM is the period where most actual resting and recovery occurs. There are three stages to NREM sleep that are very simply and unoriginally categorized as N1, N2 and N3. The N1 stage although very short in time is pretty sweet because it helps the body and transition from a lively awake state to a much slower state of decreased body activity. Now when I say that body activity is decreased I’m referring to functions such as breathing, blood pressure and motion in general. Once the body has been slowed down it begins to enter stage N2. Stage N2 is the most interesting stage; the body is at a very low amount of activity at this point but the brain is not it has increased its stimuli so that it can wake up the body on a moments notice. N2 is actually the most restful period of sleep because it takes up a bigger portion of the night than any other stage of sleep totaling to about half of a night’s sleep. But one thing N2 doesn’t have is cool nicknames like the N3 stage. N3 is also called deep sleep and slow-wave sleep because it is where the body is at its lowest state of activity with reduced amounts of stimuli so the body won’t be...

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