Sleep and Dream, Why and When

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  • Topic: Sleep, Dream, Electroencephalography
  • Pages : 5 (1761 words )
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  • Published : May 4, 2013
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When, Why, and Theories of Sleep and Dreams
Everything, even plants sleeps. Whether it’s a cat, dog, fish or human, it sleeps. Any living thing sleeps at one time or another. We sleep for many reasons and theories. What goes on inside of our head while we sleep is considered dreaming. Why a person dreams is a mystery. Although there are many theories as to why we have dreams as well. But within the dreaming state a lot of things occur in the brain. A person doesn’t necessarily need to sleep in order to have dreams. Sleeping patterns are different for different people and also change with age. “All biological systems in plants and animals are influenced by cycles or biological rhythms of physiological activity.” Behavior, body temperature, and even growth are based upon these rhythms. Most animals vary on a twenty-four hour cycle that is influenced by the availability of light. This is also known as circadian rhythms. (Davis, 180) When circadian rhythms are maintained at a twelve hour lightness on and twelve hour lightness off, ones body conforms to a schedule kept by a biological clock. Most variations of light keep to a normal twenty-four hour cycle to adhere to our biological clocks. When darkness occurs, we often feel less active and most alert within the onset of the light of day. Researchers have shown that a nucleus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus is where the biological clock is located. This nucleus helps prepare us for our daily activities by raising our blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature by telling our body’s nervous system and endocrine levels to adjust with the time of day.(Davis 180) Once everyday, our level of consciousness shifts into sleep mode and then into another state of consciousness when dreaming. “Sleep is a natural, periodically recurring state of rest characterized by reduced activity, lessened responsiveness to stimuli and distinctive patterns of brain activity.” If a person lives to be seventy years of age, they would have roughly spent twenty-one years of their life asleep. That is roughly one-third of their life in a sleeping stage. Through research and with the help of electroencephalograph (EEG), brain waves shift from the waking state to a sleeping state. Therefore, the discovery of different stages of sleep. (Davis, 181) In 1964, a study was conducted and showed that the state of consciousness changes when the brain wave activity slowed down. (Stauch, 132) Today we know that dreams occur in all stages of sleep, and the dreams change in quality, content and structure depending on what stage you are in.(Strauch,131) Stage one of sleep, the dreamer is emotionally neutral, disorganized in the dream. (Stauch, 132) This state lasts from one to seven minutes. The dreamer feels drowsy when this stage occurs. Theta brain waves are detected through the EEG. Eye movement slows down, some muscle relaxation and irregular breathing takes place. People are easily awakened in this stage and some even claim that they weren’t sleeping. (Davis, 184) If uninterrupted the dreamer goes into Stage two of sleep. In Stage two of sleep, the dreamer views him/ herself as a passive observer and disregards the images as a dream.(Stauch,133) The second stage lasts anywhere between twenty to thirty minutes and is considered “real” sleep. Eye movements are at a minimal and muscle activity decreases to a lower level then before.(Davis, 184) Stage three is entered when the sleeper loses consciousness as the dream replaces the outer existence and they find themselves more involved with the dreaming events. (Staunch, 133) Delta waves are detected through EEG. No memory will be occurred if the dreamer is awakened at this stage and there is barely any eye movement. (Davis, 184)Sleep walking often occurs in this stage. (Davis, 198) This stage occurs about thirty to forty-five minutes after falling asleep and left uninterrupted. Stage four is the deepest sleep stage there is....
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