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Nervous System
Sleep (Grades 4 to 6)



Sleep (Grades 4 to 6)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.95

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    hypothalamus, maintenance, repeated, sleepwalks, elderly, survival, newborn, body, dreams, automatic, normally, saves, hallucinate, lighter, thoughts, heartbeat


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Sleep
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Your body needs rest and sleep each night. It becomes relaxed and inactive. What about your brain? Well, your brain never stops. Its automatic control system keeps your heartbeat, breathing, and other vital processes going. Your sleep center is in your hypothalamus. Even though we know that your brain doesn't stop, doctors know through EEG that the patterns in your brain do differ when you are asleep than when you are awake.
 
2     Scientists know also from EEG and through observing the body's activities while sleeping that there are four main stages of sleep. The cycles last between 60 and 90 minutes each and become shallower throughout the night.
 
3     At first you sleep in a floating, daydreaming state. Then your heartbeat and breathing slow and your body temperature falls during "sleep spindles." In the third state, you are in a very deep sleep and your brain is a pattern of delta waves, which are slow. A person who sleepwalks, talks in his sleep, or wets the bed normally does it during this stage. Finally, the waves speed up and dreams begin during the R.E.M. stage. R.E.M. stands for rapid eye movements. A person's eyes move and flicker even though the eyelids are closed. A person can often remember his dream if he wakes up now. When the R.E.M. stage is over, sleep deepens again and the person usually goes through the stages once again. This deep sleep/dreaming sleep is repeated. The first delta sleep is very deep at the beginning of the night, but becomes lighter toward morning. Scientists believe people need both types of sleep. During any type of sleep, your senses still work for survival for example, you would still hear strange noises and smell smoke while you sleep.

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