An Area In The Brain Can Control Wakefulness And Sleep
It Is Also Involved In Recovery From Sleep Loss
Researchers have found that a single brain area controls both sleep and wakefulness. Previously, it was thought that the cerebral cortex, the area in contact with the skull, produces sleep-inducing slow brain waves, and wakefulness is controlled by the lower, mammalian part of our brain. However, according to recent discoveries, the thalamus is responsible for the states of consciousness, and for sending sensory information to the brain. Stimulating this area induced wakefulness in test animals, while lowering the stimulus in a rhythmic way resulted in a deep, non-REM sleep. REM sleep phase includes dreams, while non-REM sleep is the two main sleep phases; the former is the stage during which we dream, while the latter is the deep, restorative sleep. Also, the research showed that suppressing the stimulus to the thalamus prevented the recovery from sleep loss. Additional details click here.