Introductory Psychology: Sleep


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lecture 24 from a college level introduction to psychology course taught Fall 2011 by Brian J. Piper, Ph.D. ( at Willamette University, includes sleep stages, EEG, development, dreams, purpose of sleep

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Introductory Psychology: Sleep

  1. 1. SleepBrian J. Piper, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Objectives Biological Rhythms and Sleep Why Do We Sleep? Sleep Disorders Dreams
  3. 3. Biological RhythmsCircadian Rhythms occur on a 24-hour cycle and include sleep and wakefulness.
  4. 4. Biological RhythmsCircadian Rhythms occur on a 24-hour cycle and include sleep andwakefulness.Zeitgeber is the stimuli thatcontrols the rhythm.
  5. 5. SCN• Retina• Suprachiasmatic Nuclei of the Hypothalamus• Others – Pineal
  6. 6. SAD• Seasonal Affective Disorder
  7. 7. Sleep Stages Measuring sleep: About every 90 minutes, wepass through a cycle of five distinct sleep stages. Hank Morgan/ Rainbow
  8. 8. Awake but RelaxedWhen an individual closes his eyes but remains awake, his brain activity slows down to a large amplitude and slow, regular alpha waves (9-14Hz). A meditating person exhibits an alpha brain activity.
  9. 9. Sleep Stages 1-2Stage 1: early, light sleep with slowed breathing, irregular brain waves, potential hynagogic sensationsStage 2: the brain enters a high-amplitude, slow, regular theta waves (5-8 Hz), spindles Theta Waves
  10. 10. Sleep Stages 3-4During deepest sleep (stages 3-4), brain activity slows down. There are large-amplitude, slow delta waves (1.5-4 Hz).
  11. 11. Stage 5: REM Sleep After reaching the deepest sleep stage (4), thesleep cycle starts moving backward towards stage1. Although still asleep, the brain engages in low-amplitude, fast and regular beta waves (15-40 cps) much like awake-aroused state. A person during this sleep exhibits Rapid Eye Movements (REM) and reports vivid dreams.
  12. 12. 90-Minute Cycles During Sleep With each 90-minute cycle, stage 4 sleep decreases and the duration of REM sleep increases. 1928-1st 20 sec:
  13. 13. Eww….• Paradoxical (REM) Sleep: – No movement except eyes – Difficult to wake-up – Vaginal lubrication/Erections
  14. 14. DreamsThe link between REM sleep and dreaming has opened up a newera of dream research.
  15. 15. Why We Dream IPhysiological Function:Dreams provide thesleeping brain withperiodic stimulation todevelop and preserveneural pathways. Neuralnetworks of newborns arequickly developing;therefore, they need moresleep.
  16. 16. Co-Sleeping• Co-sleeping: infant in same room as parent• Bed-sharing: infant in same bed as parent• Anthropologists noticed lower rates of SIDS among cultures that co-sleep
  17. 17. Why We Dream II2. Wish Fulfillment: Sigmund Freud suggested thatdreams provide a psychic safety valve to dischargeunacceptable feelings. The dream’s manifest(apparent) content may also have symbolicmeanings (latent content) that signify ourunacceptable feelings.3. Information Processing: Dreams may helpencode a day’s experiences in our LTM.
  18. 18. Consequences of REM Deprivation• After finding food in the arms of the Radial Arm Maze, rats were REM Deprived. Smith et al. (1998). Neurobiol Learn Memory, 69, 211-217.
  19. 19. Why We Dream4. Activation-Synthesis Theory: Suggests that the brain engages in a lot of random neural activity. Dreams make sense of this activity.5. Cognitive Development: Some researchers argue that we dream as a part of brain maturation and cognitive development. All dream researchers believe we need REM sleep. When deprived of REM sleep and then allowed to sleep, we show increased REM sleep called REM Rebound.
  20. 20. Dream Theories Summary
  21. 21. Sleep Deprivation1. Fatigue and subsequent death.2. Impaired concentration.3. Emotional irritability.4. Depressed immune system.
  22. 22. AccidentsFrequency of accidents increase with loss of sleep Coren (1996). Sleep Thieves.
  23. 23. Sleep Disorders1. Insomnia: A persistent inability to fall asleep.2. Narcolepsy: Overpowering urge to fall asleep that may occur while talking or standing up. Just Funny (2 min): Sleep apnea: Failure to breathe when asleep.
  24. 24. Sleep DisordersChildren are most prone to: Night terrors: The sudden arousal from sleep with intense fear accompanied by physiological reactions (e.g., rapid heart rate, perspiration) which occur during Stage 4 sleep. Sleepwalking: A Stage 4 disorder which is usually harmless and unrecalled the next day. Sleeptalking: A condition that runs in families, like sleepwalking.
  25. 25. Sleep Theories1. Sleep Protects: Sleeping in the darkness when predators loomed about kept our ancestors out of harm’s way.2. Sleep Helps us Recover: Sleep helps restore and repair brain tissue.3. Sleep Helps us Remember: Sleep restores and rebuilds our fading memories.4. Sleep may play a role in the growth process: During sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone. Older people release less of this hormone and sleep less.