Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, and is more easily reversible than being in hibernation or a coma. Sleep is a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems. It is observed in all mammals, all birds, and many reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
The purposes and mechanisms of sleep are only partially clear and are the subject of substantial research. Sleep is often thought to help conserve energy, but decreases metabolism only about 5–10%. Hibernating animals need to sleep despite the hypometabolism seen in hibernation, and must return from hypothermia to euthermia in order to sleep, making sleeping "energetically expensive."
In mammals and birds, sleep is divided into two broad types: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM or non-REM) sleep. Each type has a distinct set of associated physiological and neurological features. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) further divides NREM into three stages: N1, N2, and N3, the last of which is also called delta sleep or slow-wave sleep.