Article thumbnail

The primary function of REM sleep

By Mr. Andrew E. Bernhard


In this paper, the physiological features associated with the different stages of REM sleep and with what information processing researchers have called “effort” and “arousal” are compared. It is suggested that tonic REM sleep and effort involve an increase in the metabolism of cerebral glycogen, and phasic REM sleep and arousal involve the transfer of glucose from the body to the brain. Both stages of REM sleep seem to elevate cerebral glucose levels and likely result in increased ATP generation in some part(s) of the brain. It is noted that the functioning of the hippocampus depends heavily on ATP, and that this part of the brain becomes especially active during REM sleep. From this, although many details remain to be clarified, it seems clear that the primary function of REM sleep is to re-energize the brain

Topics: Brain Imaging, Neuropsychology, Neuropsychiatry, Neurology, Neurophysiology
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.2139/ssrn.3076092
OAI identifier:

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.

Suggested articles


  1. (1980). A Compendium of Physiology in Sleep.
  2. (1996). Acceleration of EEG theta wave precedes the phasic surge of arterial pressure during REM sleep in the rat.
  3. (1975). Arousal, activation, and effort in the control of attention.
  4. (1973). Attention and effort.
  5. (1965). Attitude and Pupil Size.
  6. (1980). Breathing in Sleep. In
  7. (1991). Capacity views of human information processing. In
  8. (1972). Cardiac and respiratory activity during visual search.
  9. (2005). Cardiovascular Physiology: Central and Autonomic Regulation.
  10. (2005). Cardiovascular Physiology: The Peripheral Circulation.
  11. (2002). Cerebral Circulation and Sleep. Sleep Med Rev,
  12. (1983). Changes in brain glycogen during slow-wave sleep in the rat.
  13. (1998). Current perspectives on the function of sleep.
  14. (1992). Event-related desynchronization: the effects of energetic and computational demands.
  15. (1973). Eye movements and hipocampal theta activity in cats.
  16. (1996). Functional neuroanatomy of human rapid-eye-movement sleep and dreaming.
  17. (2000). Functional neuroimaging of normal human sleep by positron emission tomography.
  18. (2003). Glycogen: the forgotten cerebral energy store.
  19. (1985). Heart rate deceleration in REM sleep: an orienting reaction interpretation. doi
  20. (1965). Heart Rate During Conditioning in Humans: Effects of Ucs Intensity, Vagal Blockade, and Adrenergic Block of Vasomotor Activity.
  21. (1999). Heart rate surges during REM sleep are associated with theta rhythm and PGO activity in cats.
  22. (1954). Hippocampal electrical activity in arousal.
  23. (1999). Information processing and energetic factors in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In
  24. (2005). Mammalian Sleep.
  25. (2005). Normal Human Sleep Overview.
  26. (2006). Normal Human Sleep. In
  27. (1955). Participation de l'hippocampe à la régulation des états de veille et de sommeil.
  28. Physiology in Sleep (pp.
  29. (1998). Primary vagally mediated decelerations in heart rate during tonic rapid eye movement sleep in cats.
  30. (1985). Psychological correlates of electrodermal activity during REM sleep.
  31. (1964). Pupil Size in Relation to Mental Activity during Simple Problem-Solving.
  32. (1996). Pupillary responses index cognitive resource limitations.
  33. (1969). Pupillary, heart rate, and skin resistance changes during a mental task. doi
  34. (1953). Regularly occurring periods of eye motility, and concomitant phenomena, during sleep.
  35. (1995). Restoration of brain energy metabolism as the function of sleep.
  36. (1999). Sleep as a mediator of the relationship between socioeconomic status and health: a hypothesis. doi
  37. (1995). Sleep function(s) and cerebral metabolism.
  38. (1996). Sleep-Dependent Changes in Regional Circulations.
  39. (1965). Studies of Attention in the Human Infant.
  40. (2001). Telling lies : clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage (3rd ed.).
  41. (2005). Temperature, Thermoregulation, and Sleep.
  42. (1965). The Electrodermogram (Tarchanoff Effect) During Sleep.
  43. (2006). The Function of Sleep. In
  44. (1984). The functional significance of eventrelated desynchronization of alpha rhythm in attentional and activating tasks. doi
  45. (1999). The functions of ATP receptors in the synaptic transmission in the hippocampus.
  46. (1999). The influence of effort on impairments of attention associated with major affective disorders.
  47. (1956). The magical number seven plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information.
  48. (2003). The polygraph and lie detection.
  49. (1975). The relation of hippocampal theta activity to arousal, attentive behaviour and somato-motor movements in unrestrained cats.
  50. (1964). The Role of Active Muscle Vasodilatation in the Alerting Stage of the Defence Reaction.
  51. (2004). The selfish brain: competition for energy resources.
  52. (1975). The Theta Mode of Hippocampal Function. In
  53. (1983). Towards a model of stress and human performance.