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How does your brain wake up from sleep?

https://theconversation.com/how-does-your-brain-wake-up-from-sleep-151146

theconversation.com

How does your brain wake up from sleep?
The mystery of how the brain creates consciousness still puzzles scientists, but the mechanics of waking up are starting to be understood.

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How Scientists Study Brain Activity

How Scientists Study Brain Activity
  • Scientists study activity in the brain with a tool called electroencephalography ( EEG), that measures electrical signals coming from neurons.
  • The brain is not turned off while you sleep - there is a lot of activity going on, even if you’re not aware of it. You cycle through four different sleep stages, and each shows up as a different pattern on the EEG.
  • Each sleep stage is also associated with different patterns of chemicals in your brain (neurochemicals - the way brain cells use to communicate with each other).

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How Our Brains Wake Us Up

  • One of the systems in the brain that wakes us up is the reticular activating system (RAS) - a part of your brain located just above your spinal column that acts like a gatekeeper or filter for your brain, making sure it doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle.
  • The RAS can sense important information and create neurochemicals that wake up other parts of the brain. It also keeps you awake throughout the day.
  • Once the RAS switch turns on, it can take some time for your whole brain and body to wake up. This is because it takes a few minutes to clear all the “sleepy” neurochemicals from your brain, which is why you may feel groggy when an alarm clock wakes you up.

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Why We Feel More Groggy On Some Days

When your brain is asleep, it shifts between deep and light stages. If your alarm clock goes off during a deeper stage of sleep, it takes longer for all the parts of your brain to wake up.

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