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A student in college who was a sleep expert approached me in a hall to ask me some questions, and blah blah blah.............

Sleep is the transition from wakefulness into sleep. This transition can last anywhere between one to seven minutes. There are five stages to sleep. Stage one is the lightest stage of sleep. You slowly lose responsiveness to stimuli and begin to drift off in random thoughts and images. Theta waves start to appear this shows the first stage in sleep. Stage two in sleep is called “real sleep stage” by researchers. During stage two your heart rate, body temperature, and muscle tension start to decrease and it is harder to wake up. High frequency bursts of brain activity have also been observed, when this happens it is called sleep spindles. Stage three of sleep starts within thirty to forty-five minutes after falling asleep. You pass right though stage three and into stage four. Stage four is also called slow wave or delta sleep. Stage four is the deepest stage of sleep. In the process of this stage your heart rate, body temperature, blood flow to your brain, and respiration continue to decrease, there is also a secretion of growth hormones which control’s levels of metabolism, physical growth, and brain development. After a few minutes to an hour in stage four you go back through stage three and then to stage two again. You then start rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This stage is also known as stage five. This is the stage where you start to dream. This stage makes up the last twenty percent of your sleep as an adult, and the last fifty percent of your sleep as an infant. During REM your body is physiologically aroused, but voluntary muscles are paralyzed. You pass through REM sleep five to six times per night, with thirty to ninety minutes between periods. Each period of REM sleep lasts for approximately fifteen to fort-five minutes. REM sleep goes through 14-5 cycles per second.

The last stage of sleep that I had just explained was stage five also refereed to as REM sleep. The reason that REM sleep is so important is that during REM sleep the brain and body are in a state of physiological arousal. The heart rate and blood pressure may be twice as high as when you are in a non REM sleep. The reason that paradoxical is so important is that it means contradictory. The reason that REM sleep can be so paradoxical is that when you are dreaming and completely asleep you are in REM sleep. Although we dream, our brain waves are so similar to someones brain waves who are awake, that if a trained professional were to look at the waves of someone dreaming and someone who is awake, they would not be able to tell the difference between the two waves.

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However, if you do not gain enough sleep you will come across many sleeping disorders. Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, sleep walking, and sleep talking are just a few examples of what types of problems you could encounter if you do not gain enough or any sleep at all. Insomnia is when you have difficulties going to sleep or staying asleep. Insomnia can occur with stressful events in you life or around you, dealing with a loss or death, or with mental or physical heath problems, switching to night shift work, which upsets the circadian rhythms, and abusing alcohol or other substances. Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing for ten or more seconds. A person with sleep apnea may wake up, resume breathing, and go back to sleep. This disorder may possibly end up turning out to be a cause for insomnia. Narcolepsy is when someone has repeated periods of suddenly falling asleep (sleep attacks) or short periods of sleep during the day. With each sleep attack that a narcoleptic person has they are accompanied by brief periods of REM sleep where they also encounter muscle paralysis. Sleep walking and sleep talking are due to a REM sleep disorder. Sleep walking is when someone is unconsceince and they wake from their beds or there place of sleep and walk around without knowing what they are doing. The person may walk into the kitchen, poor their selves a glass of juice from the refrigerator, drink the juice and walk back to bed, and never remember that they had done that. However there have been worse cases of sleep walkers where someone is sleep walking and the walk out of their homes and into the street and is stuck by a vehicle and die, it is rare to see that happen but it has happened before. Sleep talking is when someone is talking in their sleep. While they are having a dream, they may be saying out loud what they are saying in their dream. Sleeping disorders can become very seriously and people should be careful that they get enough sleep so that their bodies stay healthy and that as well as physically they are mentally healthy.

Why is it that we need sleep at all? Why cant you just stay awake twenty-four hours seven days a week and never need sleep, you would get some many more things done if you didnt have to sleep? Researchers have found two theories of why we need to sleep. The first theory is called The Repair Theory. The repair theory is that during the day we do so many different things that our body and mind need sleep to replenish/repair what has been lost to us that day. Sleep is a restorative process, and during sleep in stage four there is a secretion of growth hormones, which controls the metabolism, physical growth, and brain development. The immune cells increase during your sleep to fight off infection. The brain knows that it need sleep to repair damaged tissue, grow, repair the immune system, and obtain a good mood. If you have changes in sleep, you can become an unhappy person and discover you are having mood problems. The other theory of why people need sleep is The Adaptive Theory. In the Adaptive Theory it is said that the body is to conserve energy while it sleeps so your body has enough energy to be able to do what it needs to do for the next day. Another thing that the theory explains is that sleep protects us from nocturnal predators, because we do not sow that we are weak because we do not show ourselves to dangers of them. However, people have gone anywhere between one day to eleven days without any sleep it is not recommended because your immune system will start to shut down, you will start to have memory shortages because you dont sleep so your mind wont repair itself, you may become a very angry person, you will become drained of your energy and will be more venerable to anything that can harm you such as night predators.

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