5.1 consciousness: the nature & functions of sleeping Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 5.1 consciousness: the nature & functions of sleeping Deck (47)
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lowest conscious level
we spend over a third of out lives sleeping


biological rhythms

as biological organisms people age and that means their lives change across time, our roles and activities won't necessarily change dramatically throughout our life spans
life isn't all change, other species age but also complete repetitive cycles and their biological processes across time
biological rhythms are the repetitive cycles


circannual rhythms

year long cycles of biological change
-like bears/beed cycles of activity during warm months and hibernation during winter


infradian rhythms

biological rhythms that cycle over a period longer than a day
(like female menstrual cycles)


ultradian rhythms

biological rhythms that cycle over a period shorter than a day
(like cyclical changes in our hormone levels throughout the day)


circadian rhythms

biological rhythms that cycle over a 24 hour period
(like our sleeping/waking cycle)


sunlight and sleep/wake cycle

exposure to sunlight plays a role in our cycles


suprachiasmatic nucleus

part of the brain which is responsible for coordinating our circadian rhythms with exposure to sunlight
SCN of the hypothalamus
receives info about lighting levels from the retinas of our eyes and sends that info to the pineal gland


pineal gland

releases hormone called melatonin



a hormone excreted by the pineal gland that contributes to our level of alertness
more melatonin = less alterness and more sleepiness



the synchronization of biological rhythms with external cues, such as light or temperature.
however, external cues do not modify some of our biological rhythms


endogenous rhythms

biological rhythms that do not depend on external cues
(when people kept in constant artificial lighting conditions tend to follow a 24-25 hour sleep/ wake cycle)


aging alters sleep patterns

younger people tend to be more alert and awake in the evening than older people, who tend to be more alert in the early morning and get drowsy earlier in the evening
across the life span humans also see a gradual decline in the amount of sleep they require
babies gets about 16 hours of sleep a day
where ages 55-90 get around 6 hours a day


what happens while we sleep

we cycle through several shorter alternating rhythms
there is a lot of biological activity going on while we sleep



a group of physiology measures (for biological activites)
measures of breathing rate, body temperatures, sensors for measuring muscle activity and the electroencephalogram- EEG



provides measures of brain activity at different locations across a persons scalp
EEG recordings provide the main basis for distinguishing between the different stages of biological change that occur while a person sleeps
EEG measures changes in electrical charges that correspond to the firing of neurons in the brain and thus generates a record of alternative positive and negative electrical charges
when printed graphically- these changes in electrical charge look like a jagged wave of peeks and valleys


frequency of EEG

the rate of up and down shifts in the EEG waveform


amplitude of EEG

the distance in height b/w the peak and valley of an EEG waveform


beta waves

high frequency, low amplitude waves that dominate when we are awake and alert


alpha waves

as a person transitions into sleep the frequency slows down a bit and the amplitude of the waves increases a bit
this wave is common when people are drifting off to sleep or in a high state of relaxation (ex. massage or hot tub)
this is the point before the shift of the deepest level of sleep


theta waves

when we fall asleep the biological cycle we tend to follow consists of four stages
Stage 1- relative to alpha waves, the brain waves become slower and amplitude increases to form theta waves (slower breathing rate, heart rate and lower blood pressure also accompany this change in brain activity)


sleep spindles and K complexes

stage 2
after about 15 min we enter into stage 2 in which sleep spindles appear which are bursts of high frequency/low amplitude waves
K complexes also appear which are bursts of large amplitude waves


delta waves

stage 3 and 4
- around 20 min later we enter yet a deeper level of sleep in stage 3 characterized by delta waves which are low frequency high amplitude waves. this continues into stage 4 which is the deepest level of sleep and the stage at which a person will be least responsive to sounds or someone shaking them to wake up


rapid eye movement (REM) sleep

after stage 4 about one hour into sleeping the cycle proceeds in reverse to stage 1 but instead of waking up we transition from there to REM sleep. brain waves are fast during this stage, similar to the forms of an awake person. heart rate and breathing rate quickens during this stage, although body movements are suppressed during this stage, eye movements are rapid.
(stages 1-4 in non-REM or NREM sleep)


restore and repair hypothesis

the idea that sleep is to allow down time for the body to perform essential maintenance functions
(sleep deprivation gives support for this idea)


sleep deprivation

can lead to deterioration in mental and physical health
not getting enough sleep makes people less efficient when they are completing daily activities
it harms our ability to learn
weakens our immune system
problem; how much sleep we need does not relate well to the amount of energy we expend
working hard mentally and physically on a day only seems to increase our sleep requirements very slightly when compared to the amount of sleep we require after a relatively lazy day


preserve and protect hypothesis

the idea that sleep serves the function of conserving our energy and keeping us out of trouble during the nighttime
(nighttime is the most dangerous part of the day, our eyes are not meant for functioning in the dark)
preserve: animals that sleep the most are at the least risk of being eaten (ex: bats sleep 20 hours per day, predators sleep about 15 hours per day)
animals that are commonly preyed upon, like caribou, sleep


daylight savings time

our bodies are used to routine, our bodies like predictability
daylight savings time can cause problems this changes our cycle leaving us deprived of sleep until we make the adjustment
number of workplace injuries and fatal car accidents increase when people lost 40 minutes of sleep


people who do not get as much sleep as they require has a list of impairments that can happen

-worse at divided attention tasks
-impairments in concentration
-decision making is harder, problem solving, maintaining control over ones emotions and inhibition inappropriate behaviour
sleeping less than 7 hours 4 days in row is enough to observe these impairments


driving sleep deprived

is the same as drinking and driving
-one of the most common causes of fatal car accidents
-error, lack of productivity, bad choices and chaos all come from sleep deprivation

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