Abstract and Keywords
The phenomenological experience of sleep as a cessation of waking activity is misleading. Indeed, it suggests that sleep constitutes, like a switch, a simple mechanism by which are shut off all neurophysiological processes associated with an active and costly wake state of vigilance. In this chapter, we present a summary description of sleep and its defining features, viewed from behavioral, neurobiological, neurophysiological, and functional neuroanatomical perspectives. Given the universality of sleep and/or sleep-like phenomena across animal species, we review also the phylogenesis of sleep. As the reader will realize, the simplistic view that sleep is a mere state of inactivity must be replaced by the conception of a complex, multidimensional, and active state of the brain.
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