Morning person? Night owl? Something in between? When are you at your best? I’ve found that no matter the hour of day, I am the best me I can be after a good nights’ sleep. Sleep a wonderful state of unconsciounsness after shopping at the mall with a four year, a five year old, a six year old, and a 7 year old. Let’s face it for some of us sleep is a luxury, better than a day at the spa, but the reasoning behind sleep and the various disorders, damages and wonders it can cause are a mystery to even the brightest scientific minds. What do we really know about the all-powerful world of sleep?
We know that we should sleep at least 8 of every 24 hours. We know that there are 24 hours in a day and we know that it takes the earth 24 hours to rotate. (Rathus,100) Coincidence? I think not. The earth turns to a circadian rhythm or cycle that is connected with the twenty four hour period of the earth’s rotation, but we don’t know why. For now this remains one of the great mysteries of the universe, literally. So, what happens when we sleep?
During most of our day, we are awake, conscious of the world around us. Once a body realizes it is tired, the natural reaction is to relax. As our bodies begin to get drowsy our consciousness or awareness begins to slip away into the unconscious state of sleep. We are then in whole new world. One where there are five progressive stages of unconsciousness. Four stages of NREM (non- rapid eye movement sleep) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
In stage one of NREM, our bodies assisted by slowed brain waves that create a theta pattern, which have a frequency of about 6 to 8 cycles per second and are accompanied by slow, rolling eyes. Stage one is the lightest stage of sleep, and could also be considered dozing. In stage 2 of NREM sleep, brain waves slow just a bit at 4 to 7 cycles per second. Stages 3 and 4 are considered the deep sleep...
References: Rathus. S. A. (2011). Psych 110: Franklin University. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning
Cunha, J. P. (2010). Narcolepsy. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/narcolepsy/article.htm
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