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    The Stages of Sleep

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    Question: Description of the stages of sleep and two potential effects of sleep deprivation on an individual's daily functioning. What are the mechanisms of action of modern sleeping pills. What is one advantage and one limitation for using sleeping pills to treat insomnia.

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    Description of the stages of sleep.
    Two potential effects of sleep deprivation on an individual's daily functioning.

    (I'm going to treat these two as one)

    Normally, stages here are grasped by the nature of the resultant brain waves, which are movements of electricity. The first stage of sleep is the "Theta stage." (These are more fundamental than REM, etc). This stage is particularly important to some of the alternative medicine people, who hold that it is a gateway to the subconscious. This is the border between the beta relaxation stage and sleep. On occasion, theta waves do occur when awake, usually associated with strong emotions.

    Delta Waves are next, but these comprise steps 2-4. The difference is the predominance of Deltas over others. Stage 4 is the total domination of Delta waves. The shift between stages is the result of "sleep spindles" and "K Complexes." These are actions of your brain that transform the waking brain to the sleeping one. Since certain aspects of brain activity are being shut off here, the adjustment process is what pushes the different waves to show. These are both bursts of electric activity that denote (or so it is thought) that the brain is doing its shutting down routine of all waking activities. Stage two is brought on by the existence of these spindles, which show up on the EKG as small, but noticeable spikes in electric activity. In a sense, it drives the Theta away, permitting the Delta to begin its entry.

    Three and Four are actually overlapping. These ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution discusses the stages of sleep.