From about the 1930-ies it is known that sleep is divided into four phases: three of them belong to the stage of NREM sleep, and one to the stage. These findings were made by scientists in the study of brain waves by electroencephalography, but thanks to magnetic resonance imaging, scientists were able to identify 19 more phases that have not been recorded previously. A new study of sleep phases can be considered the most extensive in all of history — the results allowed the scientists to rethink how the process of sleep and insomnia.
To identify new phases, the researchers recruited a group of volunteers from 57 healthy people. They were placed in the MRI scanner, in which there were over 52 minutes. As eyes were closed, some of them were able to sleep for a short time — even in this short time, the researchers managed to identify a bunch of different biochemical processes of the brain. It was used as the data of magnetic resonance imaging, and electroencephalographic apparatus.
Dividing brain activity for different groups, scientists have identified at least 19 phases, previously unknown. They are all in the interval between wakefulness and slow sleep stage. According to Professor Angus of Stevner from Aarhus University, the results of their research are finally given a more modern description of human sleep. Humanity is high time to abandon the simplified pattern of brain activity during rest person and to realize that sleep is a complex process with many activities of neurons.
The discovery provided a new perspective on such sleep disorders as insomnia. This problem affects the lives of millions of people, so it is possible that in the future scientists will develop more effective methods of their elimination.
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