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This article is about sleep in humans. Sleep architecture”, “Waking up”, “Asleep”, and “Slept” redirect here. Sleep is associated with a state of muscle relaxation and reduced perception of environmental stimuli. Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings.
An artist’s creative illustration depicting REM sleep. The most pronounced physiological changes in sleep occur in the brain. The brain uses significantly less energy during sleep than it does when awake, especially during non-REM sleep. In other words, sleeping persons perceive fewer stimuli.
However, they can generally still respond to loud noises and other salient sensory events. During slow-wave sleep, humans secrete bursts of growth hormone. All sleep, even during the day, is associated with secretion of prolactin. Non-REM and REM sleep are so different that physiologists identify them as distinct behavioral states. 6 times in a good night’s sleep. Awakening can mean the end of sleep, or simply a moment to survey the environment and readjust body position before falling back asleep.
Sleepers typically awaken soon after the end of a REM phase or sometimes in the middle of REM. Internal circadian indicators, along with successful reduction of homeostatic sleep need, typically bring about awakening and the end of the sleep episode. During a night’s sleep, a small portion is usually spent in a waking state. In adults, wakefulness increases, especially in later cycles. Most of this awake time occurred shortly after REM sleep. Today, many humans wake up with an alarm clock.