Autonomous nervous system
The autonomic nervous system watches over all vital basic functions of the body. It is active day and night and controls all involuntary, automatic functions such as heartbeat, digestion and breathing, the level of blood pressure or the activity of the bladder. The sweat secretion or the acceleration of the pulse during physical exertion are also part of the body processes that are controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system consists of two areas, the sympathetic nervous system (also called the sympatheticus) and the parasympathetic nervous system (parasympatheticus), which act in opposite ways on the organs:
- The sympathetic nervous system stimulates energy consumption during increased activity or in stressful situations: It accelerates the heartbeat and breathing, for example, and increases blood pressure.
- The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is more responsible for storing and building energy during a rest or recovery phase: It slows down the heart rate, for example, and stimulates the glands and muscles in the digestive tract.