Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body, characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, reduced muscle activity and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles during rapid eye movement sleep, and reduced interactions with surroundings. It is distinguished from wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, but more reactive than a coma or disorders of consciousness, with sleep displaying different, active brain patterns. Sleep occurs in repeating periods, in which the body alternates between two distinct modes: REM sleep and non-REM sleep. Although REM stands for "rapid eye movement", this mode of sleep has many other aspects, including virtual paralysis of the body. A well-known feature of sleep is the dream, an experience typically recounted in narrative form, which resembles waking life while in progress, but which usually can later be distinguished as fantasy.

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