Definition of sleep

Sleep is defined by a combination of behavioral and physiological characteristics. Behaviorally, sleeping humans tend to lie still in stereotypical postures. This condition, which is characterized by a markedly reduced awareness of the outside world, is different, however, from other unconscious states like coma or anesthesia because of its prompt reversibility [10]. Using electrophysiological criteria, human sleep can be divided into two types, REM and NREM sleep. During REM sleep, bursts of eye movement activity frequently occur. REM sleep is also called paradoxical sleep because of EEG activity similar to that observed during wakefulness. On the other hand, during NREM sleep, which is also described as orthodox sleep, the EEG shows low-frequency activity.

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