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Parasomnia stands for a group of sleep disorders such as sleepwalking, sleep paralysis, sleep aggression, nightmares, sleep-related eating disorders or REM sleep behavior disorder. Parasomnias include a wide range of undesirable movements, behavior, emotions, dreams or perceptions. Apparently, many of these disorders have a negative impact on sleepers daytime, but science is struggling to provide enough solid pieces of evidence about what can cause them.

Why Do We Need to Sleep? - The Atlantic

It is believed that genetics play a key role since parasomnia usually runs in families, but for some types of parasomnia, even brain disorders can be responsible, for example for a REM behavior disorder. People of all ages can experience parasomnia, but children are the most liable age group since the immaturity of their brain puts them at higher risk of parasomnia. Getting too much or too little sleep can negatively affect your memory , but how that happens and how can we determine the perfect amount of sleep?

It is believed that recommended seven or eight hours of sleep can help you maintain a good memory later in life. One study gathered information about the sleep habits of a group of women in They find out that brains of participants who slept more than 9 or less than 5 hours per night had worse test performances than the ones from participants who were sleeping around seven hours each night. They also came to the conclusion that so-called undersleepers and oversleepers are usually mentally two years older than the sleepers who slept for at least seven hours per night.

People who are chronically sleep deprived are more likely to make mistakes, accidents, to forget what they need to do because their brain functions are slower. Some long term consequences of sleep deprivation include memory problems, although it has not been figured out how exactly are those two things correlated. Some memories are based on facts, and some are episodic and attached to some events from our lives, while others are instructional riding a bike, playing piano, etc. In order for something to become a part of our memory, it has to go through these three stages:.

Recall and acquisition both occur while we are awake, but sleep researchers believe that for consolidation of memory, regardless of her type, sleep is essential and required. Because without an adequate amount of sleep, our brain will have troubles with absorbing and recalling memories. Some studies that included memory tests have shown that people who were sleeping the night before performed better in many fields.

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Scientists believe that some sleep disorders are genetically transferred to family members and that our genes can determine the amount of sleep that we need. Researches were following sleep habits of a family with a mutated DEC2 gene. All family members were going to bed around 11 PM, and they would wake up on their own around 5 AM.

Why Do We Need to Sleep?

These results suggest that the rapid eye movements that occur in sleep are linked to visual processing rather than just physical activation or movement. So, the participants may have actually been looking at a dream image, rather than these eye movements simply reflecting motor discharge in the brain. While much remains unknown, this detailed processing of our dream images suggests that rapid eye movements may actually modulate our brain activity during sleep. Are the eye movements a simple byproduct of the visual processing that occurs of the images we dream?

Is there a psychological basis to why we need to process these images during sleep, and does this lend to better psychological outcomes in a similar way to sleep aiding physical functioning? These and many questions drive the ongoing research into why we sleep, and what its precise benefits are. Download our free app on the App Store or Google Play for the latest headlines and breaking news alerts. We love feedback: help us improve by rating the app and sharing your suggestions at apps sbs. Sign up now for the latest news from Australia and around the world direct to your inbox.

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Why a Good Night's Rest Is Vital to a Better, Healthier Life

Skip to content Primary Navigation Show menu Hide menu. SBS Home. News Programs. The course combines traditional lecture-style teaching with both secondary and primary source reading, small discussions, and a culminating project. A key aspect of the course is using the primary scientific literature on sleep to both support the lectures and to aid students in interacting with science, and the scientific process more broadly. Students will read a collection of state-of-the-art primary scientific articles, capturing the energy of this rapidly changing field.

In addition to their content, emphasis is placed on how experiments are conducted and what they tell us. Students are encouraged to think critically about scientific data and pose their own questions and experimental hypotheses. Students will complete their own sleep and dream diary, offering the class an opportunity to learn insights from themselves as well as the material.

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The course culminates with a "sleep outreach" project, where students are tasked with communicating the importance of sleep to their peers and the general public in a creative way that is uniquely theirs. Past examples have included sleep and dream inspired comic books, artwork, musical presentations, and poetry.