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arousal

An abrupt change from a "deeper" stage of non-REM sleep to a "lighter" stage, or from REM sleep toward wakefulness, with the possibility of awakening as the final outcome. Arousal may be accompanied by increased tonic EMG activity and heart rate as well as body movements.

Definition reprinted with permission from Culebras, Antonio, Clinical Handbook of Sleep Disorders, Butterworth-Heinemann

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