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There are several families of algorithms for scheduling spaced repetition: Neural networks based Leitner system: 5 stages and an arbitrary number of stages SM-family of algorithms (SuperMemo): SM-0 (a paper implementation) to SM-17 (in SuperMemo 17) Some have theorized that the precise length of intervals does not have a great impact on algorithm effectiveness, although it has been suggested by others that the interval (expanded vs. fixed interval, etc.) is quite important. The experimental results regarding this point are mixed.

Other researchers' theories on additional functions of sleep differ significantly. One older idea is the energy conservation theory. Others claim that REM sleep is needed to "refresh" the brain after the NREM phase, or that REM is needed to prevent stasis of fluids in the eye (Roth Ari-Even et al., 2005).

It is hypothesized that a considerable amount of sleep-related behavior, such as when and how long a person needs to sleep, is regulated by genetics. Researchers have discovered some evidence that seems to support this assumption. Monozygotic (identical) but not dizygotic (fraternal) twins tend to have similar sleep habits. Neurotransmitters, molecules whose production can be traced to specific genes, are one genetic influence on sleep which can be analyzed. And the circadian clock has its own set of genes. Genes which may influence sleep include ABCC9, DEC2, and variants near PAX 8 and VRK2.

Insomnia is a general term for difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia is the most common sleep problem, with many adults reporting occasional insomnia, and 1015% reporting a chronic condition. Insomnia can have many different causes, including psychological stress, a poor sleep environment, an inconsistent sleep schedule, or excessive mental or physical stimulation in the hours before bedtime. Insomnia is often treated through behavioral changes like keeping a regular sleep schedule, avoiding stimulating or stressful activities before bedtime, and cutting down on stimulants such as caffeine. The sleep environment may be improved by installing heavy drapes to shut out all sunlight, and keeping computers, televisions and work materials out of the sleeping area. A 2010 review of published scientific research suggested that exercise generally improves sleep for most people, and helps sleep disorders such as insomnia. The optimum time to exercise may be 4 to 8 hours before bedtime, though exercise at any time of day is beneficial, with the exception of heavy exercise taken shortly before bedtime, which may disturb sleep. However, there is insufficient evidence to draw detailed conclusions about the relationship between exercise and sleep. Sleeping medications such as Ambien and Lunesta are an increasingly popular treatment for insomnia. Although these nonbenzodiazepine medications are generally believed to be better and safer than earlier generations of sedatives, they have still generated some controversy and discussion regarding side-effects. White noise appears to be a promising treatment for insomnia.