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Why Do We Sleep Psychology

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Psychological Benefits Of Sleep

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream: Crash Course Psychology #9
1) Improves Memory

Our brain surprisingly stays busy when we sleep, during sleep we can strengthen our memories and can practice skills which you have learned during daytime .

2) Healthy Life

Having a proper 8-hour sleep gives you a healthy life, it keeps you fit and healthy mentally as well as physically, we should have proper sleep, not more nor less, because both less and an extra hour sleep can have negative effects on our body, we can get ill, or can go through insomnia or sleep diseases.

3) Keeps you away from Heart Diseases

People who take enough 8 hour sleeps usually are safe from heart diseases, strokes, and high blood pressure, research proves that people who take less sleep have more chances of facing heart diseases, strokes and high blood pressure.

4) Keeps you Energetic

You must have noticed that when you sleep less your brain starts feeling heavy you feel nausea and when you sleep more you feel more tired all this happens because of improper sleep, whereas people who take proper 8 hours sleep always feel fresh and look energetic, your proper sleep has impact on your emotions, moods, and feelings.

5) Keeps you at Peace

Dreaming Enhances Creativity And Problem

Its been shown that deep non-REM sleep strengthens individual memories. But REM sleep is when those memories can be fused and blended together in abstract and highly novel ways. During the dreaming state, your brain will cogitate vast swaths of acquired knowledge and then extract overarching rules and commonalties, creating a mindset that can help us divine solutions to previously impenetrable problems.

How do we know dreaming and not just sleep is important to this process?

In one study, we tested this by waking up participants during the nightduring both non-REM sleep and dreaming sleepand gave them very short tests: solving anagram puzzles, where you try to unscramble letters to form a word . First, participants were tested beforehand, just to familiarize them with the test. Then, we monitored their sleep and woke them up at different points of the night to perform the test. When woken during non-REM sleep, they were not particularly creativethey could solve very few puzzles. But, when we woke up participants during REM sleep, they were able to solve 15-35 percent more puzzles than when they were awake. Not only that, participants woken while dreaming reported that the solution just popped into their heads, as if it were effortless.

Some may consider this trivial, but it is one of the key operations differentiating your brain from your computer. It also underlies the difference between knowledge and wisdom . The latter seems to be the work of REM-sleep dreaming.

When Should I Set My Alarm

An individual sleep cycle typically lasts around ninety minutes to two hours, during which the brain cycles from slow-wave sleep to REM sleep. However, the sleep cycle is not as simple as cycling through the stages sequentially.

As the night progresses, the amount of time we spend in a specific stage changes, as does the order of the stages. For example, the average length of the first non-REM-REM sleep cycle is 70 to 100 minutes.

The second, and subsequent, cycles are longer lasting â approximately 90 to 120 minutes . In adults, REM sleep increases as the night progresses and is longest in the last one-third of the time spent asleep. N2 begins to account for the majority of non-REM sleep, and N3 can even disappear altogether .

On the average night, adults typically need to complete at least four or five sleep cycles per night, or 7 to 9 total hours of sleep . However, there is a large degree of variability from person to person and from night to night .

Babies, for example, have shorter sleep cycles, lasting only about 50 minutes for the first nine months of life, and it is typical for newborns to sleep anywhere from 14 to 18 hours a day .

For naps, the most professionals agree that shorter naps are better if a personâs goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and alert. However, the results of a 2019 study indicated that 25-, 35-, and even 45-minute naps significantly reduced signs of stress and fatigue in physically active men .

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Sleep Cycles In Other Animals

Humans may be unique in a lot of ways, but the fact that we sleep is not one of them. As discussed, sleep is important for recovery, memory storage, and growth, so it makes perfect sense that other animals need sleep, too.

However, the length of sleep, brainâs state of consciousness, and whether dreaming occurs differs among species.

But do all animals even sleep? Research has shown that birds and mammals sleep . That is, they become unconscious to their surroundings for a certain period of time. Reptiles sleep, but research is inconclusive regarding whether they reach a REM sleep-like state.

Fish and amphibians reduce their state of awareness but do not ever become unconscious . Insects, on the other hand, do not appear to sleep , although they may experience periods of inactiveness .

It is important to understand that while other animals also sleep, different types of animals have different sleep cycles. Birds and mammals share non-REM and REM sleep, but for birds, both cycles are much shorter â non-REM averages roughly two and a half minutes while REM lasts about only nine seconds .

The length of these cycles also ranges from mammal to mammal. For example, REM sleep occurs for 24 minutes in the cat and 12 minutes in the rat .

It is possible that reptiles dream, since past studies reveal they also exhibit some form of REM sleep , but researchers are still uncertain as to whether this is completely true.

Sleep Clears Our Brains Of Junk

Psychology 101: Why We Sleep

This is a very new area of research, but recent studies in mice have shown that the brain seems to prefer to rid itself of trash at night. It’s possible that without sleep, this toxin buildup helps cause some of the nasty effects of sleep deprivation.

In 2012, researchers from the University of Rochester first described the brain’s drainage system, called the glymphatic system . This is a series of watery channels that wash junk and toxins out of the brain.

Then, in October 2013, the researchers showed that the cleaning seemed to be happening primarily while the mice were asleep. This was an experiment that involved training mice to sleep under a microscope and injecting them with fluorescent dye to watch the liquid flow.

Intriguingly, the researchers found that when they injected the mice with beta-amyloid protein, whose build-up causes Alzheimer’s disease, it was washed out twice as fast during sleep as during waking. This is especially interesting because poor sleep is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

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Sleep Helped Us Hide From Predators

Some researchers have suggested that we might have evolved to sleep during the night in order to evade predators. After all, sleep allows us to hide, be quiet, and be still for a long time.

However, there’s one obvious potential problem with this hypothesis. In many ways, sleeping animals are the perfect prey. They’re vulnerable. They generally have their eyes closed and, depending on the species, are less sensitive to noise, touch, and smells everything that could help them escape if a predator were nearby.

Indeed, some researchers have argued that the vulnerability of a sleeping animal is reason to believe that sleep must be doing some very important things. Otherwise, evolution would have destroyed this reckless behavior eons ago.

Brain Activity And Dream Types

In neuroimaging studies of brain activity during REM sleep, scientists found that the distribution of brain activity might also be linked to specific dream features.

Several bizarre features of normal dreams with well-known neuropsychological syndromes that occur after brain damage, such as delusional misidentifications for faces and places.

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Brain Processing And Memory Consolidation Theory

After learning certain task, sleep deprivation smashes the ability to learn that task. On the other hand, a good night of sleep hugely enhances the ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problemsIn fact, its been estimated to give us a three-fold advantage. Sleeping at night seems to enhance our creativity . What happens is during the night, synaptic connections connect and strengthen, while less important connections fade away.

What Do They Mean

Why do we sleep – Intro to Psychology

Relationships: Some have hypothesized that one cluster of typical dreams, including being an object in danger, falling, or being chased, is related to interpersonal conflicts.

Sexual concepts: Another cluster that includes flying, sexual experiences, finding money, and eating delicious food is associated with libidinal and sexual motivations.

Fear of embarrassment: A third group, containing dreams that involve being nude, failing an examination, arriving too late, losing teeth, and being inappropriately dressed, is associated with social concerns and a fear of embarrassment.

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Stage : Lightest Sleep

Stage 1 is the first stage of non-REM sleep . This stage typically lasts less than 10 minutes and is marked by a slowing of your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements , as well as the relaxation of your muscles. Your brain waves also begin to slow down as you have entered a stage of light sleep.

In the beginning of stage 1, the brain produces high amplitude alpha waves and begins to produce theta waves as the stage progresses . Put simply, brainwaves are electrical pulses in the brain that change according to what we are doing or how we are feeling .

As the waves slow down , the brain goes into a deeper sleep. Alpha waves are the highest frequency of the three brain waves that characterize sleep, explaining why, when we have just fallen asleep and are not yet in a state of deep sleep, we can be easily awoken.

Five Ways To Enhance Your Sleep

So how can we be sure to get enough sleep and experience a dream state? While we may be tempted to use sleeping pills to get to sleep, this has been shown to be detrimental to dreaming. Instead of taking pills, here are some simple ways to enhance your sleep:

1. Make sure your room is dark and that you are not looking at bright light sourcesi.e., computer screens and cell phonesin the last hour or two before going to bed. You may even want to start dimming lights in your house in the earlier parts of the evening, which helps to stimulate sleepiness.

2. Go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time every day. This helps signal to your body a regular time for sleeping. Its no use trying to sleep in a lot on weekends. There is no way to make up for regular sleep loss during the week.

3. Keep the temperature in your house cool at nightmaybe even cooler than you think it should be, like around 65 degrees. Your body temperature needs to drop at night for sleep, and a lower room temperature helps signal your brain that its time to sleep.

5. Dont have caffeine late in the day or an alcohol-infused nightcap. Both of these interfere with sleepeither keeping you awake or stimulating frequent wake-ups during the night.

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Cognitive Function Of Sleep

Another theory regarding why we sleep involves sleeps importance for cognitive function and memory formation . Indeed, we know sleep deprivation results in disruptions in cognition and memory deficits , leading to impairments in our abilities to maintain attention, make decisions, and recall long-term memories. Moreover, these impairments become more severe as the amount of sleep deprivation increases . Furthermore, slow-wave sleep after learning a new task can improve resultant performance on that task and seems essential for effective memory formation . Understanding the impact of sleep on cognitive function should help you understand that cramming all night for a test may be not effective and can even prove counterproductive.

Watch this brief video describing sleep deprivation in college students.

Heres another brief video describing sleep tips for college students.

Sleep has also been associated with other cognitive benefits. Research indicates that included among these possible benefits are increased capacities for creative thinking , language learning , and inferential judgments . It is possible that even the processing of emotional information is influenced by certain aspects of sleep .

Watch this brief video describing the relationship between sleep and memory.

Repair And Restoration Theory

Russell Foster: Why do we sleep?

According to the repair and restoration theory of sleep, sleeping is essential for revitalizing and restoring the physiological processes that keep the body and mind healthy and properly functioning.

This theory suggests that NREM sleep is important for restoring physiological functions, while REM sleep is essential in restoring mental functions.

Support for this theory is provided by 2011 research that shows periods of REM sleep increase following periods of sleep deprivation and strenuous physical activity. During sleep, the body also increases its rate of cell division and protein synthesis, further suggesting that repair and restoration occur during sleeping periods.

In 2013 researchers have uncovered new evidence supporting the repair and restoration theory, discovering that sleep allows the brain to perform “housekeeping” duties.

In the October 2013 issue of the journal Science, researchers published the results of a study indicating that the brain utilizes sleep to flush out waste toxins. This waste removal system, they suggest, is one of the major reasons why we sleep. It’s important to realize, however, this study was done on mice and not humans.

“The restorative function of sleep may be a consequence of the enhanced removal of potentially neurotoxic waste products that accumulate in the awake central nervous system,” the study’s authors explained.

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History Of Sleep Science

The science of sleep has come a long way and has changed significantly over the years. Initially, sleep was considered as a near-death experience.

  • Aristotle investigated the concept of sleep and wrote about it in On sleep and sleepiness.” Aristotle was of the view that falling asleep involved the digestion of food particles. These food particles then created vapours which rose from the stomach and accumulated in the brain. These vapours then led to the onset of sleep.
  • Other schools of thought in the 18th and 19th century were that sleep was the result of a lack of blood supply to the brain or the total opposite and that sleep was caused by an excess of blood in the brain.

Sleep was also initially considered to be a passive state, but with the creation of the Electroencephalogram by Hans Berger in the late 1920s proved otherwise.

  • The EEG allows for the objective measurement of brain activity during sleep and showed that there are different patterns of brain activity during periods of sleep and wakefulness.
  • The notion of sleep as a passive state was therefore disregarded.
  • The EEG also clearly shows that the mind remains active during sleep and during certain phases of sleep there are increased levels of activity.

What Does Waking Up At 3am Mean

Some other possible reasons include anxiety or depression having to go to the bathroom due to excessive fluid intake or an enlarged prostate changes to your circadian rhythm and sleep cycles or other medical conditions. Below we will describe some of the most common reasons for waking up at 3 AM.

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Stages Of Sleep: Rem And Non

By Charlotte Ruhl, published July 09, 2020

Fact checkedby Saul Mcleod, PhD

Take-home Messages
  • There are five different stages of sleep including both REM and NREM sleep. The five stages make one sleep cycle which usually repeat every 90 to 110 minutes.
  • Stage 1 non-REM sleep marks the transition from wakefulness to sleep. This stagetypically lasts less than 10 minutes and is marked by a slowing of your heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements , as well as the relaxation of your muscles.
  • Stage 2 non-REM sleep is a period of light sleep before you enter deeper sleep, lasts roughly 20 minutes. Stage two is characterized by further slowing of both the heartbeat and breathing, and the brain begins to produce bursts of rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity known as sleep spindles.
  • Formerly known as stages 3 and 4, stage 3 is the final stage of non-REM sleep. This is the deepest period of sleep and lasts 20 to 40 minutes. Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels, and your muscles are so relaxed that it may be hard to awaken you.
  • REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after sleep onset, and is a much deeper sleep than any of the three stages of non-REM sleep. REM sleep is defined by rapid eye movements and an almost complete paralysis of the body, and a tendency to dream.

Put simply, sleep is a state of perceptual disengagement from and unresponsiveness to the environment, marked by unique physiological and behavioral processes .

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