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think that these eye movements are in some way related to dreams. Typically, when people are awakened from REM sleep, they report that they had been dreaming, often extremely vivid and sometimes bizarre dreams. In contrast, people report dreaming far less fre- quently when awakened from NREM sleep. Interestingly, during REM sleep muscles in the arms and legs are temporarily paralyzed. This is thought to be a neurological barrier that prevents us from


“acting out” our dreams. NREM sleep can be broken down into three distinct stages: N1, N2,


and N3. In the progression from stage N1 to N3, brain waves become slower and more synchronized, and the eyes remain still. In stage N3, the deepest stage of NREM, EEGs reveal high-amplitude (large), low-frequency (slow) waves and spindles. This stage is referred to as “deep” or “slow-wave” sleep.


Cycling at Night In healthy adults, sleep typically begins with NREM sleep. The pat- tern of clear rhythmic alpha activity associated with wakefulness 5 Rô3 S U &<L


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voltage, mixed-frequency pattern. The transition from wakefulness to N1 occurs seconds to minutes after the start of the slow eye move- ô


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of N1 typically lasts just one to seven minutes. The second stage, or N2, which is signaled by sleep spindles and/or K complexes in the EEG recording, comes next and generally lasts 10 to 25 minutes. As


N2 sleep progresses, there is a gradual appearance of the high-volt- age, slow-wave activity characteristic of N3, the third stage of NREM sleep. This stage, which generally lasts 20 to 40 minutes, is referred to as “slow-wave,” “delta,” or “deep” sleep. As NREM sleep progresses, the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, and it becomes ô 3 5 U õ ^


S ô õ R õ 3 ôô K Following the N3 stage of sleep, a series of body movements usu-


ally signals an “ascent” to lighter NREM sleep stages. Typically, a 5- to 10-minute period of N2 precedes the initial REM sleep episode. REM sleep comprises about 20 to 25 percent of total sleep in typical healthy adults. NREM sleep and REM sleep continue to alternate through the


night in a cyclical fashion. Most slow-wave NREM sleep occurs in ô ^ 3 U


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the night. During a typical night, N3 sleep occupies less time in ô 3ô


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is between 70 and 100 minutes; the average length of the second and later cycles is about 90 to 120 minutes. The reason for such a 3 ô ^ U


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is unknown. Some scientists speculate that specific sequences of NREM and REM sleep optimize both physical and mental recupera- tion as well as some aspects of memory consolidation that occur dur- 5 3 ôô L


april/may/june, 2017 hinduism today 47


a. manivel


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