This film explores the strange and relatively unknown world of sleep-a state in which we spend approximately one-third of our lives. The Mystery of Sleep details Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman's 1950s discovery of rapid eye movement during the human dream period, a finding that brought about a much broader understanding of the mechanisms of sleep. Before his discovery, it was believed that the brain was in a state of rest during sleep. The film uses computer-generated images to illustrate dream cycles and the state of "active paralysis" in which humans usually sleep. Featured are interviews with several of the leading figures in sleep research, including Dr. William Dement of Stanford University, author or co-author of more than five hundred scientific publications on sleep including the book The Promise of Sleep. And despite the many advances in this field, as one researcher notes, "We know more about Mars and Venus than about sleep."
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