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Theories of Sleep

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Theories of Sleep Essay One theory of the nature of why we sleep is that it is essential for health reasons, and sleep deprivation can seriously endanger our lives. Jouvet deprived cats from sleep (by placing them on a water lily above water; when they fell asleep the fell in the water) and found that the felines behaved 'abnormally'; one died 26 days constant deprivation. Killgore found that sleep deprivation in humans can lead to great latency in decision making. This could have serious implications for certain professions; nurses, for example, who work alternating day/night shifts, could take a long time in administering certain drugs which could endanger patients' life; or, drivers, who drive during the night and often refuse to take breaks, are endangering themselves and others on the road by doing so. ...read more.


Studies show that when we are awakened from sleep can lead to how we feel when we are awakened: disruption during slow wave sleep (SWS) leads to one feeling tired; disruption during rapid-eye movement sleep (REM) leads to one feeling anxious/irritable - ostensibly, this means that if we are allowed enough SWS sleep we will be physically restored and if we are allowed enough REM sleep we will be mentally and psychologically restored and 'fit.' However, there are serious limitations to any research studying dreams as there is always a myriad of apparatus involved which could interfere with dreaming patterns and thus give any findings low ecological validity. Our cognitions can also be affected by lack of sleep; Turner has found that memory capability is reduced after four days of continuous deprivation. This evidence could be useful in a variety of real life situations. ...read more.


Nowadays, the majority of the human population has artificial light which enables them to see even without the assistance of sunlight - the idea, then, that we as a species sleep less than we did in the past is supported with evidence which suggests that we sleep on average 500 less hours per year than we used to; sleep hasn't got the 'protective' element that it used to with the invent of houses for protection; and, wider reaching, the urbanising of humanisation has removed us from natural predators, meaning we no longer need to be 'on guard' and prolonged periods of sleep have become exorbitant. Also, the evolutionary theory doesn't really explain the phenomenon of dreaming - what is its purpose? Have we ever dreamt or has this also been created with the advent of sleep. Plenty more research needs to be done if we are to accurately say that there is a concrete link with the idea that we have 'evolved' to dream, and it isn't just a naturally occurring process (i.e. ...read more.

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