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States of Consciousness

stages, need, sleep deprivation, sleep



Several states of conscious awareness are part of

the sleep process.
As someone falls asleep they pass from waking
consciousness into a semi wakeful state , into
four states of progressively deeper sleep (all of
which contain little or no conscious awareness).
Then after the four stages of sleep an individual
shifts into dream sleep.


Hypnagogic State: A relaxed state of dreamlike

awareness between wakefulness and sleep.
In this state a person begins to loose voluntary
control over the body movements; our sensitivity to
outside stimuli diminishes; and the thoughts
become more fanciful, less bound by reality.
For most people it is a highly enjoyable state.
Myoclonia: An abrupt movement that sometimes
occurs during the hypnagogic state in which the
sleeper often experiences an sense of falling.


Stages of Light and Deep Sleep: After a person

makes transition from the hypnagogic state to
sleep, then he passes through four stages of
progressively deeper sleep.
Researchers distinguish among these stages of sleep
through an electroencephalogram (EEG). EEG is
a measure of brain activity.
The depth of sleep alternates upward and downward
many times during the night. Young adults show an
average of 34 shifts in the depth of sleep during the
first 6 hours.


REM sleep: Rapid-eye-movement sleep, characterized by movement of the eye

under the lids often accompanies dreams.
Dreaming: Conscious awareness during sleep that primarily occurs during rapideye-movement (REM) sleep
Autonomic storms: 5 decades of study have revealed the eye balls are not the only
parts of the body that are busy during REM dreams.
The Autonomic nervous system and other parts of the peripheral nervous system are
very active during dreams, causing noticeable changes in many parts of the body
For instance blood flow to the brain increases, the heart beat becomes irregular, the
muscles of the face and fingers twitch, and breathing becomes irregular.
Interestingly voluntary control of the large body muscles is largely lost during REM
sleep, perhaps to keep the individual from acting out the dreams
REM sleep is not limited to humans only but this fact has been confirmed in many
laboratory studies of sleeping mammals


In a survey of college aged adults, about 15 percent said

that they dream every night, and about 25 percent said
that they dream on most nights. On the other hand
almost a third of young adults said that they rarely or
never dream.
Studies of dreaming conducted during the past 30 years
show that the average college student spends about two
hours a night in REM sleep, divided into about 4 to 6
separate episodes.
Based on the facts of the reports of sleepers who were
awakened during REM sleep it is clear that people dream
during at least 80 percent of these episodes of REM sleep.


Many studies have consistently shown that when

participants are awakened during non-REM phases of
sleep, they report dreaming about half of the time
On average non-REM dreams are less bizarre and with
less negative emotion than REM dreams
In addition to the 2 hours of REM dreaming per night,
non-REM dream activity is occurring during half of the 4-6
hours that we sleep each night
Unlike waking consciousness, most of the hours that a
person is conscious during sleep does not become part of
the permanent record of the life by being stored in memory


Internally generated cycles lasting about 24

hours a day that regulates sleepiness and
wakefulness, Body temperature and secretion of



Students at the University of Florida participated in a sleep

experiment limiting their sleep to 2 hours for one night. The next day
they were irritable, fatigued, inattentive, and inefficient: the next night
they fell asleep more quickly and slept longer than usual.
Sufficient sleep is essential to maintaining good health.
For example, when male college students were limited to 4 hours of
sleep per night for a week, important changes in bodily functions were
found that had not been detected in early sleep studies. The sleep
deprived students had increased activity of their sympathetic nervous
systems and their normal patterns of hormone secretion by the
adrenal glands and thyroid were altered. Perhaps, most importantly,
their metabolism of sugar was less efficient after sleep deprivation.
In addition short-term sleep deprivation slows down the bodys
immune system.

Sleeping less than 4.5 hours per night for men

and less than 3.5 hours per night for women is
associated with a 15 percent higher death rate.
One possible cause death related to sleep
deprivation is accidental death rate. Even small
amounts of sleep deprivation can decrease
alertness and increase the risk of accidents.


Disturbances in sleep or sleep disorders are highly treatable disorders.

Insomnia: Refers to a variety of difficulties in which individuals report
that they sleep less than they wish. There are two major varieties of


Sleep-onset insomnia: Individuals have difficulty falling asleep at

the hour at which they would like but sleep is normal after it begins.


Early awakening Insomnia: Is characterized by waking up earlier

than desired, either several times in the middle of the night or early
in the morning.


are found in individuals experiencing no other psychological

problems but are more common in individuals undergoing periods of
stress, anxiety and depression.


Narcolepsy: Is a rare sleep disorder, occurring in less than

one half of one percent of the general population , but its
impact can be quite serious.
The narcoleptic often unexpectedly falls into a deep slumber
in the middle of work or even during conversations with
others, especially when upset or stressed.
Often the individual experiences loss of muscle tone and
shows lack of body movement, as if suddenly into dream sleep.
Narcolepsy often causes serious difficulties with the use of
dangerous machines and other job related activities. It also
occurs in people who get adequate sleep


Is the sudden, temporary interruption of breathing during

To qualify as sleep Apnea, these interruptions of
breathing must be longer than 20 seconds, because brief
interruptions are normal. Sleep Apnea is common,
particularly in older adults who snore.
It is caused either by too much relaxation of the muscles
of the throat or by a temporary cessation of brain signals
for breathing.
It is more common in persons who are over weight.
Serious sleep Apnea can lead to serious medical problems


Common Dreams and Interpretation of Dreams.