While we’re lying on your lazy skin, our brains are working overtime. On the one hand, it creates order during sleep, on the other hand, it tries out new combinations. What can come out amazing, you will learn in the last part of our series.
When we go to bed in the evening, we relax more and more. Breathing and pulse slow down, and blood pressure and body temperature drop. The tension in the muscles dissolves. Only our brain remains active. Because now no new sensory impressions flow in, it can sort out all the information of the day in peace. This happens in the deep sleep phase, in which only the brain regions are active, providing order and structure. First and foremost the hippo campus – decides which sensory impressions are relevant and forwards them to the cerebral cortex, where they are combined in the dream phase.
Sleep also fulfils two important functions in terms of ” brain hygiene “: The most relevant daily information is sorted and thought processes are recombined. As we sleep, we go through different phases in which we sleep differently. At the beginning of sleep, about three to four deep sleep phases alternate with easier dream phases, also called REM phases. “REM” is the abbreviation for “Rapid Eye Movement” and means “fast eye movements” – one of the distinctive features of this sleep phase. During sleep, the REM phases get longer and longer. In them, the brain activity is much more disordered than in the deep sleep phases, because the most diverse thought patterns are now retrieved simultaneously.
This is because the cerebrum can act more freely in dream sleep. While the hippocampus in deep sleep ensures that every relevant thought pattern is actually stored by the cerebral cortex, this connection is less pronounced in the REM phase. Now, the cerebrum can also sometimes connect mismatched thought patterns. In short: In deep sleep is structured, and in dreams, sleep is combined. And it is these “daring” combinations that sometimes bring good ideas.