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"#$%&'( )( Aaron Roberts Professor Campbell English 1102 28 April 2014

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What do you dream about? I find dreaming and sleeping very interesting because I personally cannot remember my dreams. The only dreams I remember are the bad ones that wake me up at night, other then that I wake up in the morning, I have no recollection of my dreams from that nights sleep. This seeming absence of dreams makes me wonder about sleeping and dreaming and what actually is going on in your brain during this phenomenon. Sleep is formally defined according to dictionary.com as: to take the rest afforded by a suspension of voluntary bodily functions and the natural suspension, complete or partial, of consciousness; cease being awake. During ones sleep cycle there are five stages of sleep that one goes through. The first stage you experience Alpha waves and Theta waves which is similar to day dreaming but instead of actually day dreaming, you are beginning to fall asleep. Brain waves according to dictioinary.com are Impulses given off by brain tissue. During stage one of sleep according to Dr. Diana Walcutt , you may feel extreme sensations such as someone calling your name, or the doorbell ringing, or even the sensation of falling. These vivid sensations are normal and are known as hypnogogic hallucinations

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!"#$%&'( *( The second stage last only about twenty minutes and has what is called sleep spindles which are rapid brain activity, during this stage the heart rate slows down and the body temperature starts to drop. The third stage of sleep is the transition point between light and heavy sleep. In this stage, shorter faster brain waves start to develop into slower, deeper waves also referred to as delta waves. The fourth of the five stages of sleep is called delta sleep because the brain waves are deep long delta waves. This is the point at which the person is at the deepest most relaxed stage of sleep. If a person is to be awoken at this point in sleep, they would most likely feel a sense of disorientation from being in such a relaxed mode of sleep. This stage lasts about thirty minutes. The final stage of sleep is referred to as REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement. This is the most interesting stage as well as the most mysterious, because dreaming occurs during this time period, this stage is also called paradoxical sleep because your brain is more active than the muscles are. In fact the muscles needed to move are paralyzed, which is a safety mechanism preventing one from hurting themselves while dreaming. Sleep is very essential to staying healthy. According to the National Sleep Foundation an adult needs on average 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. During this time, your bodys cells produce proteins to restore the bodys systems. A lack of sleep also known as sleep deprivation can be detrimental to a persons mind as well as their body. Studies show that in fact sleep deprivation negatively affects memory, attention, and concentration according to Dr. Brandon Peters, Ph.D. Peters goes on to say
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!"#$%&'( +( that a lack of sleep results in thinking difficulties, mood changes, and behavior changes. Sleep deprivation can also accompany anxiety and depression. A study was also done which showed that 2% of 350 people who were sleep deprived for 112 hours began experiencing paranoid schizophrenia, but was cured after a good amount of rest. This by itself just proves that sleep is so important. If your mind can go into a schizophrenic state through lack of sleep, then its obviously pretty important. More specifically than sleep, dreaming is a very interesting topic to scientists, including where they come from. Not much is known about dreams, and deciphering what each dream means is still a mystery to everyone. No one knows for sure if dreams mean anything or if they contain valuable information. According to dictionary.com, the definition of a dream is: a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep. Dreams interest me more then sleep itself, although they are both interesting, because I simply can not remember my dreams. Every morning I wake up I have no interesting memories of my dreams to share with my friends like they do. I have always wondered why it is that I cannot remember those dreams. According to professor Mark Blagrove at Swansea University, a few theories have been proposed. For some people who arent as interested in their dreams, they may not have a solid memory formed of the dream, which prevents them from remembering it in the morning. Another theory is that the neurochemicals active during sleep are much different then when awake which makes it hard to consolidate a dream to long-term memory. Another solution presented is simply that people are just unable to pay attention to the dreams they are having.
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!"#$%&'( ,( Along with hearing about the regular dreams my friends have, one of my friends actually told me about lucid dreaming, and his experiences with it. Lucid dreaming has most certainly got to be one of the most fascinating things to me. Lucid dreaming is essentially realizing that you are in a dream while you are dreaming. With enough practice you can pretty much control your dream and do whatever you want. Dream expert Beverly DUrso conveys the trick to accomplishing this is to paying attention to your surroundings, and really realizing that you are actually dreaming. To me since I cant remember my dreams lucid dreaming sounds very interesting, because it would give me a chance to experience dreams more often instead of waking up not remembering anything. Sleep itself also comes with its issues. Many problems can arise during sleep or in relation to sleep that need serious attention. These issues include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and night terrors. Sleep apnea according to WebMD is a very very serious disorder. Sleep apnea is disrupted breathing during sleep. If gone untreated, a person can stop breathing multiple times a night; resulting in possibly not enough oxygen to the brain which can have serious consequences on the body. Some effects of sleep apnea include: stroke, depression, high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks, and if left untreated sometimes death. Narcolepsy is another neurological disorder involving sleep that affects the brains control of wakefulness and sleep. In other words one could be driving down the road and suddenly fall asleep. Much of narcolepsy is unknown to scientist, although it is a topic of interest to researchers. Another sleep related disorder is insomnia. There are many causes of insomnia, some of which include stress, medication, sleep interference, anxiety, and physical
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!"#$%&'( -( discomfort. Insomnia is easily corrected. Getting on regular sleeping habits will prevent insomnia, as well as some sleeping medication. Another sleeping issue mainly found in young people is night terrors. Unlike what most people would expect, night terrors do not occur during REM sleep, which means that they are not dreams. Night terrors are in fact intense reactions to fear during the transition of sleep stages. A new topic of interest to researchers recently is the possibility of a relationship between sitting for long hours and sleep. According to Matthew Buman, a doctor at the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, it is very possible that someone who sits for too long can develop diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Researchers are exploring the idea that people who work all day in offices and sit in chairs, may not get enough exercise during the day for them to fall asleep. Research has shown that the less people sit, the better their overall quality of health and life will be. The amount of sleep everyone needs is different for each person. People of different ages all need different amounts of sleep each night in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As people get older, their amount of sleep needed diminishes. The Depression and Bipolar Alliance claims that new borns (0-2 months old) need the most sleep, around 12-18 hours. Next are infants (3-11 months old), they need around 14-15 hours of sleep every night. Toodlers (1-3 years old) on average need 12-14 hours of uninterrupted sleep every day. Preschoolers (3-5 years old) come in next only needing 11-13 hours daily. Basically everyone under five years of age needs at least half a days worth of sleep to stay healthy. School age children (5-10 years old) need usually 10-11 hours of sleep nightly. The teen years (11-17 years old) need only 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep every day, and adults (18 years and older) only needing a measly 7-9 hours of sleep daily.
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!"#$%&'( .( Although these statistics seem to be grouping certain age numbers together, in reality each individual person is different and needs a different amount of sleep daily then the next person. The phenomenon of sleeping and dreaming is clearly something of much interest to scientist, and many other people, because it is so mysterious and you arent really awake to fully experience sleep so I think that a lot of people have some level of interest in sleep and dreams. Continuing research on this topic could be beneficial for the future because somethings might be discovered from it including ways to fight disease or discovering a certain hormone that might be released during sleep cycles that could improve the health of humans. Regardless of what it is, sleep is essential to everyday life and will be around with us as long as we live.