Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Sleeping Behavior

Periodic state of temporary unconsciousness from which an individual can be aroused, and during which sensory activity is depressed, muscles become inactivated, basal metabolism is lowered, and the ability to regulate body temperature is suspended. The exact purpose of the sleep response is unknown, but most workers believe it serves an important role in maintenance; for example, sleep stimulates secretion of growth hormone, important in tissue repair and protein synthesis.

See paradoxical sleep, sleep center, and slow-wave sleep.

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