Sleep Journal

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Jennifer Nguyen
Professor Perry Daughtry
Intro to Psychology
09-28-2012
Sleep Journal Essay
College students like myself often put off sleep for other activities like studying, doing homework or even just staying up all night with a friend. Our body follows the twenty-four hour cycle of each day and night through a biological clock called the Circadian rhythm. On the weekdays, staying up all night and skipping meals makes it difficult to focus in class. After lunchtime, I become sleepy and have difficulty focusing on my other classes. In the afternoon, this affects my body because it does not give me energy, but instead it makes me crash earlier in the day.

David Myers, the author of Exploring Psychology the eighth edition, says, “Everyone needs to get eight hours of sleep” (Myers, 75). This quote I think is so underrated, because some people in our world today only get six to nine hours of sleep, on a daily basis. If you think about it, going to sleep is not that easy. There are five unique stages to sleeping. In stage one, this cycle is considered to be between being awake and slightly dozing off. When you are in this cycle, you wake up, but you do not feel like you fell asleep. The brain produces theta waves, which makes the brain waves decrease when you go into other sleep stages. In stage two, the brain begins to relax more. The sleep spindles, which are rapid, rhythmic brain waves, are present in this cycle. Your body temperature starts to decrease and your heart rate starts to slow down. In stage three, this cycle is forwarded to deep sleep. In stage four, you are in a deep sleep, but not enough to dream. Also in this cycle, “some children might wet the bed or even sleep walk” according to David Myers. In stage five, also known as the rapid eye movement (REM), the heart rate increases and eyes begin to move under the eyelids. Most dreams occur here because the brain activity was increased.

The importance of sleep is a big deal, that if you did not sleep, you would die from sleep deprivation. You need sleep so that your body can restore all its needs for the next day. Not enough sleep can produce a lot of problems like car accidents, memory problems, and sleep disorders. Two most known sleep disorders are insomnia and sleep apnea. Insomnia is a sleep disorder where you cannot fall asleep. Insomnia can happen to anyone and can be either a short term or a long-term process. Another sleep disorder is called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is caused by irregular pauses in breathing, during sleeping. Both of these disorders, if not treated, can cause heart problems and even death in most cases.

There are many reasons why we dream at night. An Austrian Neurologist named Sigmund Freud considered dreams the key to understanding our inner conflicts. Some researchers believe that the dreams can help sort experiences on a daily basis, while other researchers believe that dreams may also serve a physiological function. Other theories suggest that dreams flow from neural activity moving upward to the brainstem. The first three nights of sleeping in my sleeping journal, my dreams were nightmares. The first night I had a dream that my grandmother passed away and nobody was there to help me through the tragedy. From the feelings of abandonment, I just went psycho. Unfortunately almost two years ago, my grandmother in fact passed away. It is unclear to me why I dreamt of this memory. My second dream was that my psychology class had visited a local jail and our teacher created an experiment where every other student was a prisoner, and everybody else was a guard. I was one of the prisoners and the guards tortured me to a point where I could no longer think. My psychology professor Mr. Daughtry, told our class about this experiment on actual prisoners, which influenced to dream of this particular subject. My third dream was that I had rented a cabin with my friend. The owner was a psycho killer with the intention of killing us....
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