I have been sent a query about core and optional sleep as there is some contradiction between what we said in the 1st and 2nd editions of the A2 Complete Companion. Looking around the other A2 textbooks, there seems to be a wide variety of explanations – most of which are not correct. Jim Horne proposed the concepts of core and optional sleep as a different perspective to the REM/non-REM distinction, which means that it is not possible to say the core sleep includes or doesn’t include REM sleep. Horne’s concept was that core sleep is essentially the first hours of sleep, and thus refers to mainly slow wave sleep (SWS) but includes some REM sleep. As the night progresses there is less SWS sleep and more REM sleep. Optional sleep is the sleep that occurs later in the night and which appears to be less crucial. This consists mainly of REM sleep but has some SWS/non-REM sleep. I hope that is clear! Thanks to Jo Haycock for pointing the inconsistency out to me.
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