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What is Sleep?

Sleep is an essential part of one_s health. It is just as important as exercise and proper diet. Without sufficient sleep, one feels drowsy and less energetic.

Sleep consists of two fundamental states, REM sleep and non-REM sleep. These two states alternate in cycles throughout a period of sleep. REM sleep is categorized by rapid eye movements, muscle paralysis and intense brain wave activity (even greater than in the waking state). Accordingly, dreaming occurs during this sleep state. In non-REM sleep, muscle activity is not supressed and brain activity is low. Once asleep, one experiences various sensations and phenomena. At the onset of sleep, one is perceptually disengaged from the environment. The real world no longer exists in the mind of the sleeper. In addition to the lack of perception, sleep closes the gap between short term memory and long term memory. Thus, any experience directly before the onset of sleep will be forgotten at wake. This phenomenon is known as retrograde amnesia. Beyond this, a sleeping person will often experience the sensation of falling with a startle, a jerk of the muscles, and a return to wakefulness. This action is defined as a hypnic jerk.

Listed below are the ways you can achieve optimal sleep:

* Create an optimal environment for sleeping. A comfortable bed with the right degree of firmness is essential for good sleep.

* Regulate your sleep on a strict schedule. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night.

* Synchronize your sleep schedule with your biological clock. Generally, there will be a point in the night when sleepiness will increase dramatically.

One_s bed time should be scheduled to coincide with this period of heightened drowsiness.

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