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November 4, 1961

The Nature of Sleep; Ciba Foundation Symposium

JAMA. 1961;178(5):530. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040440082022

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The average human being spends one third of his day in sleep. This is at it should be, according to experimental evidence offered in this symposium. From the time when men worshipped the god Hypnos, there have been many theories to account for sleep's occurrence: mysterious humoural substances, cerebral sleep centers, and cerebral sleep inhibitory centers.

Using the electron microscope, microelectrode stimulators, and advanced electroencephalogram techniques, the investigators involved in this panel have subjected the field of sleep to intensive experimentation. By use of the electroencephalogram, new light is shed on the subject of dreams and the eye movements of the sleeping subject. It is shown, for instance, that everyone dreams, usually several times during one night, and that by predicting the dream's occurrence with these techniques, if the subject is aroused, he can remember his dream.

Hypnosis has attracted man's attention since the time of Mesmer. By use of

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