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In physiology, sleep is a "readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility."[1]

Sleep stages

The stages of sleep include "Stage 1: sleep onset, drowsy sleep; Stage 2: light sleep; Stages 3 and 4: delta sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, telencephalic sleep"[2] and REM sleep. REM sleep is "characterized by rapid movements of the eye and low voltage fast pattern EEG. It is usually associated with dreaming."[3]

Disorders of sleep

Sedentary lifestyle, at least in children, may increase sleep latency.[4]

Obstructive sleep apnea

For more information, see: Obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep deprivation

The effects of sleep deprivation have been compared to ethanol.[5][6][7][8] In one comparative study, "sleep loss was more potent than ethanol in its sedative effects but comparable in effects on psychomotor performance. Ethanol produced greater memory deficits, and subjects were less aware of their overall performance impairment."[5] In a second study, "moderate levels of fatigue produce higher levels of impairment than the proscribed level of alcohol intoxication."[6] While both factors impair performance, ethanol impairs self-perception of performance.[9]

Sleep abnormalities and associations with other diseases

Abnormalities of REM sleep such as excessive motor activity are associated with subsequent Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia.[10]

Reduced amount of sleep may be associated with cardiovascular disease such as coronary heart disease and stroke.[11]

Reduced sleep may be associated with reduced resistance to upper respiratory track infections.[12]


Napping prior to sleep loss may be more effective than napping afterward.[13]


  1. Anonymous (2022), Sleep (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Anonymous (2022), Sleep stages (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  3. Anonymous (2022), REM Sleep stages (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  4. Nixon GM, Thompson JM, Han DY, et al. (July 2009). "Falling asleep: the determinants of sleep latency". Arch. Dis. Child.. DOI:10.1136/adc.2009.157453. PMID 19633062. Research Blogging.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Roehrs T, Burduvali E, Bonahoom A, Drake C, Roth T (December 2003). "Ethanol and sleep loss: a "dose" comparison of impairing effects". Sleep 26 (8): 981–5. PMID 14746378. [e]
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dawson D, Reid K (July 1997). "Fatigue, alcohol and performance impairment". Nature 388 (6639): 235. DOI:10.1038/40775. PMID 9230429. Research Blogging.
  7. Williamson AM, Feyer AM, Mattick RP, Friswell R, Finlay-Brown S (May 2001). "Developing measures of fatigue using an alcohol comparison to validate the effects of fatigue on performance". Accid Anal Prev 33 (3): 313–26. PMID 11235793. [e]
  8. Kocher H, Warwick J, Al-Ghnaniem R, Patel A (March 2006). "Surgical dexterity after a 'night out on the town'". ANZ J Surg 76 (3): 110–2. DOI:10.1111/j.1445-2197.2006.03664.x. PMID 16626342. Research Blogging.
  9. Fairclough SH, Graham R (March 1999). "Impairment of driving performance caused by sleep deprivation or alcohol: a comparative study". Hum Factors 41 (1): 118–28. PMID 10354808. [e]
  10. Postuma RB, Gagnon JF, Vendette M, Fantini ML, Massicotte-Marquez J, Montplaisir J (December 2008). "Quantifying the risk of neurodegenerative disease in idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder". Neurology. DOI:10.1212/01.wnl.0000340980.19702.6e. PMID 19109537. Research Blogging.
  11. Eguchi K, Pickering TG, Schwartz JE, et al (November 2008). "Short sleep duration as an independent predictor of cardiovascular events in Japanese patients with hypertension". Arch. Intern. Med. 168 (20): 2225–31. DOI:10.1001/archinte.168.20.2225. PMID 19001199. Research Blogging.
  12. Cohen, Sheldon; William J. Doyle, Cuneyt M. Alper, Denise Janicki-Deverts, Ronald B. Turner (2009-01-12). "Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold". Arch Intern Med 169 (1): 62-67. DOI:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.505. Retrieved on 2009-01-13. Research Blogging.
  13. Dinges DF, Orne MT, Whitehouse WG, Orne EC (1987). "Temporal placement of a nap for alertness: contributions of circadian phase and prior wakefulness.". Sleep 10 (4): 313-29. PMID 3659730.