Everyone sleeps, but there is a major mystery that involves sleep; why do we do it? In ancient and pre-historic times, when animals roamed wild, it does not seem the most ideal to be sleeping. Greek philosopher Aristotle came up with the first scientific theory of why we sleep. He believed that a person awakes from sleep once digestion of food is complete (2013). This theory has been proven to be wrong, but research shows that sleep has effects on the brain and the body.
Humans sleep for about a third of their lives and there are dozens of different theories of reasons why it is actually a necessity (TED, 2013). There are three theories that stand out. They ...view middle of the document...
REM sleep plays a major role in the development of our brain.
Sleep is more than just a time for rest. It is necessary for life. This literature review will discuss the role of REM sleep on the brain, brain processing theory for sleep, the effects of sleep deprivation, and sleep disorders and the effects on the brain. There is not much conclusive information on the distinct role of sleep on the brain; but scientists believe that sleep is for cognition. I will then discuss the effects of sleep on the body; including appearance and health.
Role of REM Sleep
The biological function of REM sleep is defined in terms of the functions of neural processes that selectively operate during the REM sleep state (Marks, Shaffery, Oksenberg, Speciale, & Roffwag, 1995). There are four stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), but one begins REM sleep. Stage 1 is our lightest sleep where our eyes move slowly and are muscles activity is slow. Stage 2 is when our eye movement stops and brain waves are slowed. Stage 3, our fast and slow brain waves intersperse and stage four follows with just fast brain waves (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_b). During REM, our heart rate increase, breathing becomes irregular, our body becomes paralyzed, and this is the time where people dream.
REM sleep plays such a major role for the brain because this is the period where the brain matures. The high amounts of REM sleep expressed by the young during a period of central nervous system plasticity suggest that one function of REM sleep is in development (Marks, Shaffery, Oksenberg, Speciale, & Roffwag, 1995). Infants are recommended to receive 16-18 hours of sleep a day because scientists believe that REM sleep effects brain plasticity. Children are most benefited from REM sleep because of brain plasticity. Teens are recommended nine hours of sleep compared to adults, who are recommended 6-8. At young ages, activity-dependent development is a mechanism by which early sensory experience can affect the course of neural development (Marks, Shaffery, Oksenberg, Speciale, & Roffwag, 1995). Activity-dependent development is a process in brain maturation by which activity in one brain area can influence the developmental course of other areas of the brain. REM sleep helps directs brain maturation through activity-dependent developmental mechanisms (Marks, Shaffery, Oksenberg, Speciale, & Roffwag, 1995). For adults, REM sleep’s role on the brain is for learning and memory consolidation. REM sleep shows similar EEG pattern with additional “theta” waves linked to the brain’s hippocampus. The hippocampus plays an important role in memory and spatial perception (Vitelli, 2013).
REM sleep should not be taken for granted because of the benefits from this stage. Parents must let...