October 2011 Archives

The Stages of Sleep and It's Disorders

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This week I've found the consciousness chapter very interesting, especially sleeping patterns. I never realized there are steps in the sleeping process. There are five stages in the sleeping cycle. Stages one through four include non-REM sleep, and stage five is the REM sleep cycle. Different brain waves occur in each level of sleep. While a person is still awake the brain produces beta waves, these waves are produced during alert states only, and occur thirteen plus times per second. Alpha waves arise eight to twelve times per second and are produced in calm wakefulness. Theta waves occur four to seven times per second. Both Alpha waves and Theta waves take place during stage one of sleep. During stage two, waves are absent, but electrical activity happens instead. Sleep spindles and K-complexes appear during this time. Delta waves appear twenty to fifty percent of the time in stages three and four. During REM sleep, there are low-amplitude waves resembling those of wakefulness. This is also when dreams take place. This has been interesting to me because before I knew about the different levels of sleep, I always wondered how I had so many dreams in one night. Now I know it is a result of each cycle lasting approximately ninety minutes during the night.

I also found the sleep disorders interesting to learn about. I've always heard of insomnia, night terrors, and sleepwalking, but never really heard of narcolepsy or sleep apnea. I feel like the most dangerous disorder is narcolepsy. People who have this disorder really aren't capable of driving, operating machinery for their jobs, or taking part in recreational activity. It would also be a very hard lifestyle to get used to.

Chapter five has probably been my favorite chapter to learn about so far in Psychology 1001. I wish we could have spent more time on the subject, but I'm looking forward to learning more for this unit.

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