It has been more than 50 years since scientists first discovered that the brain is highly active during sleep. Since then, careful observations and technical innovations have helped us understand a great deal about what goes on when we sleep. We know many of the most common characteristics and patterns of sleep, as well as how diseases, medications, certain behaviors, and varied lifestyle choices influence when and how well we sleep.
Take a first-hand look at the sleep patterns of healthy sleepers of various ages and explore how shift work and certain sleep disorders affect the amount, pattern, and depth of sleep. To see what sleep looks like to researchers and sleep physicians, enter the Sleep Lab.
This content was last reviewed on December 18, 2007