Many of us have experienced the effects of sleep deprivation: feeling tired and cranky, or finding it hard to concentrate. Sleep is more important for our brains than you may realise.
Although it may appear you’re “switching off” when you fall asleep, the brain is far from inactive. What we know from studying patterns of brain electrical activity is that while you sleep, your brain cycles through two main types of patterns: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and slow-wave sleep.
Slow-wave sleep, which occurs more at the beginning of the night, is characterised by slow rhythms of electrical activity across large numbers of brain cells (occurring one to four times per second). As the night progresses, we have more and more REM sleep. During REM sleep we often have vivid dreams, and our brains show similar patterns of activity to when we are awake.
What are our brains doing while we sleep?
Sleep serves many different functions. One of these is to help us remember experiences we had during the day. REM sleep is thought to be important for emotional memories (for example, memories involving fear) or procedural memory (such as how to ride a bike). On the other hand, slow-wave sleep is thought to reflect the storing of so-called “declarative” memories that are the conscious record of your experiences and what you know (for example, what you had for breakfast).
The ever-busy developers at Microsoft have been gradually releasing fun new utilities for Windows users to mess with. These PowerToys tend to add a bit of quirky-but-practical functionality to your operating system, and they’re completely free for you to try. We’ve covered some of their previous offerings, but two latest additions are some of the best yet.
I, too, thought the toilet paper would be back in stock by now. I got used to seeing empty shelves throughout the grocery and corner stores, but assumed that once enough people had purchased their 20-pack of toilet paper, the shelves would return to normal.