Sleep is a period of unconsciousness during which the brain remains highly active. It is a complex biological process that helps people process new information, stay healthy, and rejuvenate. During sleep, the brain will cycle through five distinctive phases: stage 1, 2, 3, 4, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Each phase is important to ensure that the mind and body are completely rested. Certain phases are needed to help you feel rested and energetic the next day, while other phases help you learn information and form memories.1, 2
Inadequate sleep contributes, in the short term, to problems with learning and processing information, and it can have a harmful effect on long-term health and well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25% of U.S. adults believe they get insufficient sleep at least 15 of every 30 days.3
Sleep affects performance on daily tasks, mood, and health in the following ways:
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