How does your brain wake up from sleep? - Deepstash
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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  • 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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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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