Restorative Neural Functions

In the brain, there is evidence, although it is not yet conclusive, that overall RNA transcription and protein synthesis is relatively most prominent during deep SWS. This activity may have particular importance for synaptic function. Even considering the alternation of SWS and REM sleep, when brain activity is often as high as during the waking state, it has been suggested that SWS allows for a recovery from so-called activity debts. It has been hypothesized that the brain uses the materials produced and stored during SWS. The decline of cognitive function with sleep deprivation provides some evidence of these restorative or supportive functions of sleep. Other possible related functions are a restoration of balance at the synaptic level. Neurons relatively quiescent during the waking period can be activated at night during both NREM and REM sleep, so that the entire network does not become imbalanced. y Alternatively, SWS may be used to restore a functional balance, as of emotional states in the limbic system.

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