Dreaming, The Stages Of Sleep And How They Work Together.

1325 words - 5 pages

Dreams play a large role in many people's lives. They can reflect and pertain to all aspects of life, and can have a deeper meaning than might immediately be realized. Learning about the effect of dreams and sleep is very important. Following the stages of sleep is an easy way to determine when a person is going to dream; thinking about the last thing you saw on television, for example, may hint to what you are going to dream about. The relationship between dreaming and sleep is a fascinating subject. A common fascinating thought is whether these dreams we experience have symbolic meaning, or if they are just a way for our minds to wander and be creative while recharging after a long day.The metamorphic process of paralleling the symbolism of our dreams to our everyday lives has contributed to learning more about our individualistic personalities. Over the years, the mysteries of why and how we dream have captured the imagination of everyone from playwrights and poets to psychologists and scientists. From laboratory experiments to primitive cultures, the interpretation of dreams is a powerful tool used to help understand ourselves. Rosalind Cartwright, a dream expert, separates the significance of dreams into four categories. According to Cartwright, dreams serve to review, revise, rehearse, and repair ourselves. In order to study the stages of sleep, patients are tested with a device called an electroencephalograph. This machine measures brain wave activity, eye movements, and muscle tension through electrodes. Other similar devices are used to record heart rates, respiration rates, and other small features. After collecting all of this data, researchers are able to analyze patients' dreams.According to David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Michigan's Hope College, there are four stages associated with sleep prior to Rapid Eye Movement, REM sleep. In Stage 1, breathing rate slows and brain waves slow down even further. During this light sleep, fantastic images similar to hallucinations are experienced. Sensations such as falling or floating are usually felt during this two- minute stage. Soon after Stage 1, the person begins to really relax their mind and body. This is the beginning of Stage 2. This stage, lasting about twenty minutes, is characterized by bursts of rapid brain-wave activity. Because of this sudden surge of brain waves, sleep talking may happen. Stage 3 and 4 are often linked together because of their similarities. They last for about thirty minutes and are called slow-wave sleep because of the slow delta waves the brain sends during these stages. Delta waves have a frequency of 3.5 cycles per second, which makes them much slower than the beta wave of fifteen cycles per second. Because of these slow delta waves, it is difficult to wake the sleeping person from the third and fourth stages of sleep. These are the stages that children may wet the bed or begin sleepwalking at. About 20% of 3 to 12-year-olds have at least one...

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