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Discuss the implications of findings from studies of partial and total sleep deprivation.

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Introduction

Discuss the implications of findings from studies of partial and total sleep deprivation. Sleep is needed to restore psychological functions. The case study of Peter Tripp supports this. Tripp, a New York DJ stayed awake for 200 hours. During this time he experienced hallucinations and profound delusions. In order for him to stay awake, it was ensured that another person was with him at all times to make sure he did not sleep. Over the period of 200 hours, Tripp developed a case of paranoid psychosis in which he believed that everybody was trying to poison him. Towards the end of the 200 hours, Tripp experienced REM sleep whilst apparently awake. This suggests that sleep is needed in order to remain psychologically healthy. Sleep helps us remain sane and active. It also plays an important part in maintaining homeostatic functioning. However, one problem with this study is the fact that it is a case study. ...read more.

Middle

However, evidence against this study is that sufferers from the condition 'fibrositis' experience disruption to their SWS sleep. They wake up in the morning feeling just as tired as when they went to bed. This goes against Dement as it shows that even though the sufferers were getting a normal amount of REM, they still were just as tired. This suggests that SWS could be just as important as REM. REM sleep must be recovered if we are deprived of it. The case study of Randy Gardener supports this. Gardener, 17, managed to stay awake and alert for around 264 hours. It was found that although Gardener had blurred vision and incoherent speech in addition to a mild degree of paranoia, he did not suffer from psychosis, which is a complete breakdown of mental functioning. He slept for 14 hours afterwards and reported no negative effects from his deprivation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jouvet conducted a study into total sleep deprivation involving cats. He placed the cats onto upturned flowerpots which were surrounded by water so that there was no possibility of the animals escaping. The cat would eventually fall asleep and would pass into REM. The muscle tone loss experienced during REM caused the cats to slip off the flowerpot and they soon learned to awake whenever its head began to nod. Over a period of time, the animals became deprived of sleep in general, but REM in particular. The cats experienced abnormal behaviour and eventually death. This shows that sleep is needed to stay alive and to keep psychological health. The abnormal behaviour shown by the cats suggest that the lack of sleep was causing them to psychologically malfunction, and it seems eventually led them to their deaths. One problem with this study is that it suffers from extrapolation. This means that the study involved only animals as the participants, therefore the findings from the study cannot be generalised to humans as animals and humans are completely dissimilar. ...read more.

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