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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Stages of Sleep While a sleeping person may simply seem like a sleeping person, there are actually many unseen complexitiesto the sleep that they are unconsciously experiencing. A healthy adult who is allowed to sleep peacefully throughthe night will in fact go through several distinct stages of sleep over the course of about 90 minutes. Thesestages are identifiable using an electroencephalograph (EEG). These stages are cycled through as shown below. Stage 1 Sleep: Characterized by low voltage waves and brain activity that is lower than when awake, but higher than when in other stages of sleep. Stage 2 Sleep: Characterized by bothbrief inhibitions of neuronal firing, called K-Complexes, and sleep spindles. Stage 3 Sleep: Characterized by a slowing of brain activity, as well as breathing and heart rate. Stage 4 Sleep: Characterized by large brain waves lasting more than half a second each. Stage 3: Stage 2: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep: Characterizedby relaxed postural muscles, fast but low voltagebrain waves, and the rapid movement of the eyes for which it is named. Fun Fact 4: REM sleep hasalso been called paradoxicalsleep due to the paradox of relaxedpostural muscles and high brainactivity occurring at the same time. Fun Fact 1: Although dreams tendto be more vivid during REM sleep,they are not exclusive to it. Fun Fact 3: Theneurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)plays such an importantrole in sleep, that without it, sleep would not occur. Fun Fact 2: Sleep walkingusually occurs in stage 3or 4 sleep. It cannot occurduring REM sleep, due tothe relaxation of muscles.
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