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Sleepless in America Much like zombies people of the United States roam the streets todays twenty-four hour society is starting to affect many For most people sleep has become a disposable commodity Less than two percent of people can function on a steady diet of five hours of sleep a night but many people try Caldwell 57 More than 60 million Americans suffer from a severe lack of sleep Others that do not have a severe case of sleep deprivation still have small cases of insomnia Sleep deprivation is affecting various segments of American society including the workplace schools and roads Sleep does not function as a voluntary act In 1983 Alan Rechtschaffen showed that going totally without sleep is fatal He took a rat and whenever it tried to sleep the floor moved and it had to walk or it would run into the wall The rat soon lost a great deal of weight and died Caldwell 20 It would take weeks to kill a person of sleep deprivation but it would eventually happen The reason people need to sleep has not been discovered by scientists Scientists believe that sleep serves as time for the brain and body to repair itself and recover the energy lost during the day The true reason for sleep is yet to be discovered During sleep the brain goes through five stages Stage one is light sleep and as a person moves through the other stages sleep becomes deeper as they reach stage four The most important stage of sleep is the REM stage or rapid eye movement It occurs after stage four and lasts for about ten minutes The name REM comes from the fluttery movements that the eyeballs go through while in this period of sleep During this stage a person is in the deepest period of rest Although the body is in extreme relaxation the brain becomes very active and dreams begin The pulse
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