This essay is about what happens when you sleep. It explains the different parts of sleep and some sleeping disorders

Essay by Ltjgirl72Junior High, 9th gradeA+, December 2003

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In about the 1950s, most people thought of sleep as a passive, inactive part of our daily lives. Now we know that our brains are very active when were asleep. Sleep affects us in many ways, that we are just beginning to understand. For instance, it affects how we function from day to day, it also affects our physical and mental health. In these next few paragraphs, I will talk about how much sleep we need, and what happens to our brain when we sleep.

The amount of sleep someone gets depends on many factors, take age for example. Infants need about 16 hours a day, while teenagers usually need at least 9 hours of sleep. Many adults sleep about 7 to 8 hours on average. However, some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 11 hours of sleep a day. Another thing that may affect the amount someone sleeps in a day is women in their first 3 months of pregnancy, they might need several hours of sleep.

Some people may have sleeping problems such as insomnia, or deep sleep stages. Medication can also make a difference in how you sleep. When someone gets to little sleep, your body may get tired or sore and you will feel drowsy and tired. Many studies show that sleep deprivation is dangerous. Sleep-deprived people who are tested (by using a driving stimulator or hand-eye coordination) perform as badly or may even worse than those who are intoxicated.

Nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters control weather we are asleep or awake by acting on different groups of nerve cells in the brain. Nerve cells in the brainstem produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. They keep some parts of the brian active when you are awake. Other neurons at the...