Normal Sleep

  • Rexford MuzaEmail author


The Oxford dictionary defines sleep as ‘a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended’. Sleep is episodic and, unlike unconsciousness, is promptly reversible. Sleep is a brain state, a physiological process and a behavioural process. The familiar behavioural characteristics of sleep include recumbence, quiescence and eye closure. While asleep, there is reduced awareness and reduced responsiveness to external stimuli. In addition to the diminution of sensory awareness, an active initiating mechanism of sleep is also believed to be at play. Sleep is also associated with relative motor inhibition. The external observable behaviour of an asleep individual suggests relative inactivity; this masks the intense neurological and physiological activity which goes on in sleep. Sleep is also tightly controlled by a complex neuronal circuitry.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sleep Disorders CentreGuy’s and St Thomas’ HospitalLondonUK

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