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Sleep Deprevation

Essay by   •  August 20, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,397 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,467 Views

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Sleep is a very important component to the human body. It is a time when the body and mind are able to be refreshed. It is when the body begins to regain the energy that it lost during the previous day. Without sleep, both the body and brain, become deprived of energy, and they begin to function at slower speeds, and with less efficiency. Sleep is separated into several stages.

The first stage of sleep is non REM sleep. This stage is split five smaller stages. The different stages in non REM sleep are defined by different brain waves. Stage one of non REM sleep, lasts around 7 minutes, and has waves of low amplitude, and frequency. This stage is the stage where you gradually begin to lose responsiveness to stimuli, and is when one experiences drifting thoughts. Stage two, is what is considered real sleep. This stage is represented by high frequency bursts of brain activity. The third stage is characterized by waves of low frequency, and high amplitude. During this stage is when temperature, respiration rate, and other things begin to get lower. This is also the point where growth hormones are released into the body. The final stage is very similar to stage three. In the last stage is when begin dreams occur. (Plotnik & Kouyoumdjian, 2005) (Benner)

When the final stage of non REM sleep finishes, is when REM sleep begins. REM stands for rapid eye movement. During this stage, the body and mind are in a state of physiological arousal. Heart rate and breathing become irregular, and blood flow to the brain increases. For these reasons is why it is often called paradoxical sleep. The brain waves in this part of sleep, are the same type of waves that the brain gives off when one is wide awake. During this stage, one is essentially paralyzed. This is thought to have been so one would not act out any violent dreams. It is in this stage, when dreams as we know it occur. While dreams also happen in stage three of non REM sleep, dreams in this stage, are the vivid and long dreams that most actually consider dreams. Dreams in non REM sleep are akin to thinking. (Kimberlin, Mazon, Showlund, Feanny, Afeltenberger) REM sleep is believed to be needed to process information that was learned the previous day. REM sleep also assists in restoring organs, bones and tissue. It also replenishes immune cells which can prevent you from getting serious illnesses. REM sleep is also essential as it has been proven that it is necessary in order for the brain and psyche to function properly. (Schuit, 2000)

As mentioned above, sleep is essential to be able to work in everyday life. Even today, scientists still do not know exactly what happens in the brain while sleeping, but it is known as a mental recharger. What is known about what happens during sleep is that growth hormones are released, controlling the levels of metabolism, physical growth and brain development. (Plotnik & Kouyoumdjian, 2005) during sleep, the body corrects chemical imbalances, maintains proper blood sugar levels, and also maintains memory. (Stoll, 2008) this is all vital to continue on normally the next day.

While it is not completely known why people sleep, there are two theories regarding why it happens. The first theory is the repair theory. This theory states that our daily activities, and routine, deplete key factors in our brain or body. Sleep is there to replenish those key factors, which is why in this theory sleep is defined mainly as a restorative process. This is backed up not only by the fact that growth hormones are released during sleep, but also there is an increased production in immune cells. Also that in wakefulness, there is a decline in the brains energy stores, and sleeping replenishes those. (Plotnik & Kouyoumdjian, 2005)

The second theory of sleep is the adaptive theory. This theory states that sleep evolved, as a way to prevent humans to not only waste their energy at night, but also to keep themselves away from danger. This is backed up by animal sleeping patterns, and that humans rely on visual cues, and have little night vision. Sleep would have helped prevent us from becoming prey to other animals. (Plotnik & Kouyoumdjian, 2005)

Sleep deprivation has become a major problem in the United States. "The National Sleep Foundation's (NFS) 2000 Omnibus Sleep in America Poll found that, on average, adults sleep just under seven hours a day during the work week. In fact, one third (33%) of adults sleep only 6-1/2 hours or less nightly (Schuit, 2000). Since researchers say that it is essential to have at least 7 hours of sleep a day (the amount varies from person to person), then it is apparent that it is becoming a major dilemma.

There are many causes to sleep deprivation, but the main cause is usually one's lifestyle. Whether it is that the person stays up late to work overtime, or that that person goes out socializing with friends or stays up late playing video games, being sleep deprived is usually one's own fault. Another large cause of sleep deprivation is bad habits. According to sleep deprivation.com, one of the most common causes for sleep deprivation is drinking caffeine, and alcohol before going to bed("Causes of sleep," ).

Another likely cause for many people's sleep deprivation is medication. Often times, medication can interfere with the body and one's daily cycle. Sleeping pills, such as Ambien, and Zolpidem while giving one a good night's sleep for a while, eventually lose their effectiveness, and lead only to more tiredness. Some even say that these sleeping pills, only allow you to go to sleep easily, but deprive you of real deep sleep ("Causes of sleep," ).

Sometimes the cause of sleep deprivation might be an underlying heath problem that one has. These might take the form as either physical or mental. Asthma for example, could be the cause of it, while on the other hand, disorders like depression and post traumatic stress syndrome might also be to blame ("Causes of sleep," ).

Sleep deprivation has a variety of effects. These effects can range from being a mere annoyance to being extremely devastating to long term health. After being deprived of sleep, the body feels sluggish, and low on energy. In this state, one cannot think clearly, and either experiences drifting thoughts, or loses track of what they are paying attention to. Severely sleep deprived person might even begin to hallucinate.

"Sleep is needed to regenerate certain parts of the body, especially the brain, so that it may continue to function optimally. After periods of extended wakefulness or reduced sleep neurons may begin to malfunction, visibly affecting a person's behavior" (author of the sd serendip) while some organs might be able to refresh themselves by just resting (without sleep), the brain, and more specifically the cerebral

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