What is the brain stem and what does it do?

Professor Hallux investigates!

How are we able to carry on sleeping when we’re asleep and our brains are taking a break? It’s a good question – but it’s easy to answer.

It’s all to do with our brain stem. That’s the part of the brain at the very back of our necks…

Now the brain has many different parts and each part takes care of different things.

Some areas help us make sense of the world and enable us to have feelings, others equip us with tools to tackle problems.

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The brain stem is very busy too – but it takes care things without you needing to give them a thought. These are the subconscious processes.

It takes care of things like our heartbeat, swallowing, and making sure our blood flows at the right pressure.

It even plays a role in getting us to sleep! If you think about it, you don’t have to think about your body most of the time!

After all you’re not actively trying to make your heart beat right now are you? Which is good because you wouldn’t want to make it accidentally stop on accident!

So be grateful to your brain stem for keeping an eye on the important processes when you’re asleep – and sweet dreams!

You can hear Hallux’s More Physiology Fix-Up weekdays from 6pm on Fun Kids!

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Professor Hallux’s More Physiology Fix-Up, with support from The Physiological Society!

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