REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep
   REM sleep is the lightest of the various sleep stages and is characterized by rapid movement of the eyeballs back and forth. Its existence was discovered by Eugene Aserinsky (1921–1998), a graduate student in the physiology laboratory of Nathaniel Kleitman (1895–1999), professor of physiology at the University of Chicago, who established the world’s first sleep laboratory after joining the faculty in 1925 and who is generally considered "the first scholar of sleep." Working on the physiology of sleep, Aserinsky established with the electrooculogram that children’s eyelids move frequently at certain times of night. Then, he and Kleitman studied brain activity in adults with an electroencephalograph (EEG). By waking subjects up during REM and non-REM sleep, they determined that dreams often occur in the REM phase, reporting their findings in 1953 in Science. The authors referred to "rapid, jerky eye movements" or "eye motility periods" rather than to "REM" as such. It was said of Aserinsky’s first findings that Kleitman thought either he had made a remarkable discovery or that the old EEG machine that Aserinsky found in a university basement was *With the exception of Myron Prinzmetal’s trial of amphetamine in 1935 (see narcolepsy), the first controlled trial in American psychopharmacology was conducted by pharmacologist Louis Lasagna (1923–2003) at Johns Hopkins University, comparing some of the new hypnotic drugs to the barbiturates (the latter won); it was published in the Journal of Chronic Diseases in 1956. broken. (It was also said that Aserinsky left Chicago because he was miffed at having to include Kleitman as co-author.)
   William Charles Dement (1928–), another student of Kleitman who worked as Aserinsky’s research assistant, began monitoring subjects’ sleep continuously all night rather than just over short periods. In 1955, he published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease on the difference in "rapid eye movement" and dream recall between schizophrenics and controls. In 1957, the year he received his Ph.D. (he had earned an M.D. in 1955), he and Kleitman defined the normal human sleep cycle in Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, dividing sleep into four stages, rapid eye movement sleep occuring predominantly in stage one, the lightest stage. The question of REM sleep was of enormous interest in neurophysiology, of course, because it opened new ways of understanding the brain. Clinical psychiatry in the 1950s was mainly interested in sleep and dreams as a hoped-for avenue to the unconscious. Sleep REM became of renewed curiosity later because psychoactive medications often diminish REM sleep as well as the deep stages of sleep. In 1969, Allan Rechtschaffen (1927–), professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, together with Dement who by now was professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and director of its Sleep Research Laboratory, proposed in an article in A. Kales’s Sleep: Physiology and Pathology that in certain kinds of narcolepsy, the sleep episodes are attacks of REM sleep.

Edward Shorter. 2014.

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  • Rapid eye movement (sleep) — Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a normal stage of sleep characterized by rapid movements of the eyes. REM sleep is classified into two categories: tonic and phasic. [cite book|author=Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W|title=Principles amp; Pracitces of …   Wikipedia

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  • rapid eye movement sleep — noun a recurring sleep state during which dreaming occurs; a state of rapidly shifting eye movements during sleep • Syn: ↑paradoxical sleep, ↑REM sleep, ↑rapid eye movement, ↑REM • Hypernyms: ↑sleep, ↑slumber * * * …   Useful english dictionary

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