4 BRAIN ACTIVITY DURING SLEEP 4 NREM 4 REM 4 SLEEP REQUIREMENTS 5 Age-related changes in total amount of sleep and REM Sleep 5 EFFECT ON SLEEP 6 1. Temperature 6 2. Melatonin 6 3. Caffeinated drinks 6 4. Food 7 5. Water 7 6. Stress 7 7. Exercise 8 SLEEPING DISORDERS 8 Sleep Apnea(without breathing) 8 Insomnia 9 Narcolepsy 9 Sleep paralysis 9 Improving sleep 9 CONCLUSION 10

INTRODUCTION Every species well except the reptilian species (scientist have not found out yet) goes to sleep. Normally one closes their eyes lies down and goes to sleep, some like bats sleep with their body facing down, elephants and giraffes sleep standing up. In every kind of way, animals will sleep. After sleep, there is normally a surge in energy levels, ideas come easily, generally one feels refreshed after sleep. But how does this happen? In fact how does sleep really occur? What happens during sleep? What and why affects the ability for one to sleep? Are there any sleep disorders? The above questions are attempted to be answered in this article.

SLEEP What is sleep? The oxford dictionary defines sleep as a condition of body and mind in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. This definition gives a broad or general processes that are involved in sleep, this article will then try to explain all the different process in detail. Brain Activity during sleep The brain is still active during sleep. The scientist measured the brain wave activity that occurs during sleep, by means of an electroencephalogram (EEG). The results were that sleep can be divided into five different states. The first four stages fall under the non rapid eye movement (NREM) state whilst the fifth state is called the rapid eye movement state (REM). The NREM is characterized by the overall decrease in the body’s processes, whilst during REM, the heart rate, breathing rate increase and there’s also small muscle movement that occurs. The two states are fully explained as follows: NREM Stage 1: this stage is normally known as the drowsing off and daydreaming. During this stage the alpha waves (lower brain waves) are measured. These waves are also called the ‘awake waves’ because we are still awake when the waves are measured. In this stage our bodies relax, respiration and heart rate slightly drops and our minds tend to drift into an altered state of creativity and relaxation. This results in a huge lapse in concentration. Stage 2: during this stage, we experience patterns of brain waves called sleep spindles. These are sudden bursts of brain activity. When a person is woken up during this stage, they will normally tell you that they are not asleep. Stage 3 and stage 4: these stages exhibit delta waves and theta waves respectively. The brain will fluctuate between these two stages. As we enter this stage, our blood pressure, respiration rate and heart rate reach their lowest point of the day. The blood vessels dilate and most of the blood which was stored in the organs is replaced by ‘new’ blood which will nourish and facilitate repair within the organs. REM REM sleep is closely related to wakefulness because the brain wave activity during REM sleep is marked by short, rapid wave patterns similar to those during the wake state appear. This stage is characterized by high frequency, low amplitude, more irregular waves in the EEG and the muscle tone is actively inhibited. It is believed that we normally dream during this state. SLEEP REQUIREMENTS Amounts of sleep vary significantly with age and even between individuals. Infants sleep the most spending nearly half of that time in REM sleep. The time a person spends in REM sleep decreases with age and this is clearly illustrated in the graphs below. Age-related changes in total amount of sleep and REM Sleep

As you might expect, as children grow, they spend less time sleeping during the day. The graph below illustrates how night-time and daytime sleep time changes with age.

Effect on sleep The following are investigated to determine their effects on sleep. 1. Temperature 1.1 Body temperature Our body temperature determines whether are awake or we feel tired and have to sleep. The body temperature rises and drops as the hours of the day progress, with body temperature increase we feel more awake and with a decrease we are then prone to sleep. A decrease in body temperature will result in the lowering of the brain waves, thus we move into stage 1 of sleep. Generally, body temperature rises in the early hours of the morning, decreases in the afternoon (explains the afternoon naps) and rises again until the early hours of the evening. 1.2 Room temperature Room temperature plays important part in body temperature regulation. When the room temperature is low, it will result in the body increasing the cellular metabolism thus the body temperature. Now, if the room temperature is higher, the body will try to decrease its temperature by producing sweat, one can still fall asleep in a high room temperature but the level of sleep will not be as deep as a cool temperature room. 2. Melatonin Melatonin is synthesized and released by the pineal gland, when a person is exposed to darkness. It promotes sleep, by decreasing cellular activity which in turn decreases body temperature. The levels of melatonin are regulated by the intensity of light, the higher the light intensity the lower the melatonin blood levels. Any light can affect the melatonin levels, sunlight is the preferred light as it also raises the body temperature and promotes wakefulness. 3. Caffeinated drinks Caffeine contained within this drinks will influence sleep by acting on receptors of adenosine. Adenosine is a hormone responsible for decreasing the heart rate and thus overall promotion of sleep. Caffeine acts as an antagonist of adenosine receptors. Caffeine increases the heart rate. This leads to an increase in cardiac output. This will result in cells having more oxygenated blood available thus increase cellular metabolism. Since cellular metabolism increases, energy production is elevated and this, results in sleep deprivation (impossible to sleep with high energy). 4. Food There are basically two important amino acids that determine whether we are sleep (tryptophan), or awake (tyrosine). Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin, which in turn can be converted to melatonin (promotes sleep at night). Serotonin itself is a relaxing hormone when present in moderate levels. The following foods contain tryptophan: red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, spirulina, sesame seeds and peanuts. Tyrosine is a precursor of noradrenalin, adrenaline and dopamine. These three hormones promote sleep as they increase heart rate thus cardiac output, and also brain functioning. Dopamine also decreases stress, thus it acts to decrease

cortisol levels in blood. Lower cortisol promotes sleep. The following foods contain tyrosine: Eggs, lean meat, peas, seafood, aged natural cheese, skim milk, tofu, whole wheat bread and yoghurt. 5. Water Water also does influence sleep due to its influence on blood flow, the adequate the water within the plasma the less viscous (thickness) the blood, the less the water the more viscous the blood. Flow of blood will influence the body temperature, the quicker it flows the faster the dissipation of temperature. The lower the temperature (within homeostatic process) the more one is susceptible to sleep. 6. Stress This is the most common way to losing sleep. One would ask oneself, how does this occur? There are two types of stress: 6.1 Acute stress Results in a secretion of adrenaline / noradrenalin during fight/flight situation. This is natural stress, and it doesn't have an effect on sleep. 6.2 Chronic stress Chronic stress results in a secretion of cortisol, during prolonged acute stress. This type releases adrenocorticotropic hormone that stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce and release cortisol. The continuous release of cortisol will suppress the immune system, thus affecting the body negatively causing an effect on sleep. A high concentration of cortisol will promote staying awake and low cortisol concentration will induce sleep. Now during stress, there's a high concentration of cortisol released, which promotes awareness. 7. Exercise Exercise does not only improve physical health, it also improves sleep. When a person exercises the body temperature rises significantly, this is followed by a compensatory decrease in temperature a few hours. This drop in temperature makes it easier to fall and stay asleep. Exercise as well as laughter also improve sleep by decreasing the level of stress and anger. SLEEPING DISORDERS Sleep Apnea(without breathing) Sleep Apnea results in repeated breathing interruptions during sleep. There are two types of sleep Apnea, namely central and obstructive Apnea. Central apnea: Imbalance of respiratory control centres within the brain during sleep. Blood levels of carbon dioxide and neurological feedback mechanisms will not be able to react quick enough to even the respiratory rates. After an episode of apnea there will be an increase in breathing rate so that the respiratory rates are returned to normal. Obstructive apnea: Obstruction of breathing during sleep caused by a collapse of soft tissue in the airway. This also can result from nasal infections that lead to an increase of tonsils size, thus blocking the airway. The figure below illustrates the effects of obstructive sleep apnea during REM sleep. Sympathetic nerve activity increases through obstructive apnea, resulting in marked vasoconstriction followed by increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) stabilizes both sympathetic activity and blood pressure surges. BP = blood pressure (mm Hg); OSA = obstructive sleep apnea; REM = rapid eye movement; RESP = respiration; SNA = sympathetic nerve activation. Insomnia Insomnia is caused by a lack of sleep. This lack of sleep will result in a loss of concentration and a slowed reaction time during waking hours, leading to reduced productivity and accidents.

Narcolepsy A sleep disorder marked by sudden, uncontrollable urges to sleep, causing an individual to fall asleep at inappropriate times, experiencing a loss of muscle tone called cataplexy. Cataplectic attacks are triggered by sudden strong emotional reactions such as laughter. This uncontrollable urge to sleep will affect the sleep cycle, thus both the NREM and REM. Sleep paralysis This condition occurs when narcoleptics are lying down, before falling asleep or after waking up. The person may lose muscle tone which results in paralysis while remaining fully awake. Studies have shown that this loss of muscle tone is due to activation of sleep-active and sleep-inactive systems in REM sleep. Improving sleep Here are some tips on improving sleep: 1. Avoid taking caffeine 4-6 hours prior to sleep. 2. Avoid exercising too close to bed time, lead to body temperature increase thus making it harder to fall asleep. 3. Try to avoid anything that would result in stress or depression prior to sleep. 4. Room temperature must be set at a cool level, not too hot or too cold. 5. Try doing something that will relax you, like reading a novel or listening to some smooth music. Avoid listening to music that you like as this will result in you being excited and thus not going to sleep. 6. Try to at least go to bed and wake up at the same time, this helps to establish a sleeping pattern resulting in better sleep. Tip on how to reset your inner sleep clock: Stay up all night on Friday night. Do not nap at all on Saturday. Go to bed Saturday night at the time you most regularly want to go to sleep every night, and get up on Sunday morning at the time you want to awaken every day. 7. Totally avoid nicotine and alcohol (or liquid intake) prior to sleep. Nicotine: speeds up the brain waves. Alcohol: acts as a central nervous system depressants, resulting in an increase in adrenalin blood levels, making it harder to sleep. Fluid intake: increases the tendency to wake up and go to the bathroom. CONCLUSION Sleep occurs when there is a rise in relaxing hormones and also when the temperature of the body goes down. There two stages of sleep which cycle from one to the other during sleep, these stages allow for various process to occur during sleep. Temperature of the body and the surrounding area, the food intake, exercise, and hormone levels are some of the many processes that affect sleep. When not enough sleep has been taken (insomnia due to medication) or a blockage of airways or a disturbance of any system within the body, it will lead to an effect on sleep, resulting in a sleep disorder. There some measures that can be taken to improve sleep, measures such as relaxing, stopping smoking and alcohol intake, limiting fluid intake, food intake and some other factors.