Sleep plays an important role in the normal functioning of the body. It takes place in five main stages namely stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4 and the final stage known as REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep). The current essay discusses REM sleep, with the focus being on the biological aspects of this stage of sleep. It accounts for about 25% of the entire sleep cycle. It usually sets in within the first 70 to 90 minutes of people falling asleep. REM sleep has been found to stimulate parts of the brains that are responsible for learning. Findings from studies indicate that when people are deprived of REM sleep, they find it difficult to recall what they had been taught prior to falling asleep. Inadequate amount of REM sleep has also been found to be closely linked to several health conditions including migraines. During the REM stage of sleep the body’s thermoregulation mechanism seems to be inoperative. Body temperatures tend to go up but this is also accompanied by cyclic changes throughout the sleep period. During the non-REM sleep stages, thermoregulatory responses such as panting and sweating can be observed. However, these responses are not usually present in REM sleep. The discovery of REM sleep was made in 1953 by Aserinsky and Kleitman. The phenomenon was identified by the rapid movements of the eye during sleep which he describes as being the phenomenon’s most obvious behavior. Among human beings, it is reported that the rapid movement of the eyes is closely linked to the contraction of the muscles of the middle year. The REM stage of sleep plays an important role in the processes of learning, storing memories as well as balancing of people’s moods. However, the exact mechanisms that are involved during this stage of sleep are yet to be fully understood.
There is a significant difference in the cerebral mechanisms that form the basis of sudden ocular movements at the time of REM sleep and...
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