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Activity Discussion Science & Technology Perception of time while sleeping Reply To: Perception of time while sleeping

  • Dikshu

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    January 6, 2024 at 3:00 pm
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    The perception that time flies when we’re asleep is related to the nature of our consciousness during sleep and the way our brain processes information. When we’re asleep, we experience different stages of sleep, including non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

    During NREM sleep, our brain waves slow down, and our body undergoes restorative processes. This is the deeper stage of sleep where most of our physical and mental rejuvenation occurs. During this stage, our awareness of time is significantly diminished. We are not actively processing external stimuli or forming new memories, so our perception of time is essentially “turned off.” As a result, when we wake up from a deep sleep, it can feel like no time has passed at all, or it may seem like only a short period of time has elapsed.

    REM sleep, on the other hand, is associated with dreaming and increased brain activity. It occurs in cycles throughout the night and becomes longer in duration as the sleep progresses. During REM sleep, our brain is highly active, and we often vividly experience dreams. Interestingly, even though the content of dreams may feel like it covers a long period of time, the actual duration of REM sleep is relatively short. This can also contribute to the perception that time flies during sleep.

    Moreover, during sleep, our conscious awareness is altered, and our sense of time is not as accurate as when we are awake. Time perception is closely linked to our attention and the processing of external stimuli. In sleep, our attention is directed inward, and our focus on external time cues is diminished. Therefore, our ability to accurately estimate the passage of time is impaired, and it can feel like time has passed quickly when we awaken.

    It’s worth noting that the perception of time during sleep can vary from person to person and can also be influenced by factors such as the depth of sleep, sleep quality, and individual differences in time perception. Additionally, the feeling of time passing quickly during sleep can also be influenced by how engaging or immersive our dreams are, as intense or eventful dreams may give the impression of a longer duration.

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