Title: Why do we sleep?
The biology of sleep is a fascinating subject. The author of the text starts the discussion of sleep with a fact stating that humans spend as much as 1/3 of their lives sleeping. As we determined in our last discussion section, unfortunately, many college students are deprived of this mysterious, yet wonderful phenomenon. However, do we really understand the long term effects of sleep deprivation? What is the significance of sleep?
We know short term effects include drowsiness, trouble concentrating, and a possibility of increased vulnerability to irritation and frustration. However, are there long term consequences? In the text it states different ideas as to why sleep is so critical. It may be for memory consolidation, important for the immune system, or merely a conservation of energy. Yet, if the purpose of sleep is to help with a basic biological function, why do we dream?
Probably one of the most mysterious yet intriguing topics is dreaming. Why do we remember some and forget others? Do they have meaning in our everyday conscious lives? Is it possible to control our dreams? Or make conclusions from them?
So far, it doesn't seem that any type of dream analysis is commonly accepted by the scientific community. Yet, there is research on dreaming. Research is being more accessible because of technology such as EEG and fMRIs. We are able to determine the electrical activity in the brain and see differences in brain waves. It has been determined that the area of the brain most active during dreaming is also the area that controls emotion. (There are still other areas of the brain associated with dreaming.) Yet, even with today's technology we have much to discover. However, the good news is that today people are less likely to make conclusions similar to ancient societies in which dreams were viewed as prophetic messages.