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Sleep And Its Disorders. Essay

3279 words - 13 pages

AbstractOne-third of our lives is spent laying around in a darkened room with eyes closed. Some are fortunate enough to go about this regular activity every day. However, there are some in this world that aren't as fortunate and instead lay awake night after night, maybe even have terrifying nightmares or even stop breathing all together in this process. This process we know as sleep. This paper will not only define sleep as a whole, but more importantly, it will describe many different sleep disorders that everyone around the world suffers from. As well as their causes, and any known treatments.Sleep And Its DisordersIn order for us to thoroughly examine and understand the disorders, causes and treatments of sleep, we must first have a basic understand of the ins and outs of sleep itself. Questions that run through our mind as we ponder the subject of sleep; What does the mind do while engaging in such an activity? Why do we sleep? Can our bodies handle deprivation of sleep, and if so for how long? Are there any side effects? Is it truly necessary to waste 1/3 of our lives sleeping? The most important question of all before we begin our research...how do we sleep?Electroencephalogram, other wise known as an EEG, is a reading on paper of the 'brain-wave', which reflects a natural property of the brains field of electrical activity. When one is awake, the brain EEG is comprised of mainly alpha waves which read out to be 8-12 cycles per second. Then there comes a time in every 24 hour period in which a human lays down in a darkened room, and closes ones eyes. Laying quietly for a few minutes, deep regular breathing is achieved and we enter the first stage of sleep, also known as the lightest stage of sleep where you can be awakened without much effort. The brains EEG slows down to a 4-6 cycle per second. This stage can be characterized by low-voltage, desynchronized activity. The sleeper can spend anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes in this stage of sleep before descending into Stage 2. Stage 2 of sleep is one of the only two stages known to have occurrences of 'sleep-spindles', these are brief bursts of 13-16 cycle per second waves; as well as K-complexes. These can be described as sharp rises and falls of the brains EEG. K-complexes have a greater chance of occurring in the waking world, but are known to have spontaneously occur while asleep. As Stage 3 begins its arrival, the transition between stage 2 and stage 4 is underway. Stage 3 is basically a mixture of Stage 2 and stage 4. Containing both, spindles and K-complexes, as well as periods of 'slow-wave' cycles. Eventually the brain will enter into Stage 4 of sleep which consists mainly of 'slow-wave' cycles (.5-3 cycles per second).During the night that one is asleep, the sleeper cycles through 4 or 5 periods of emergence. This is when the sleeper changes from Stage 2, 3 or 4 to a stage that is similar to stage one. Having small amounts of slow (8-10 cycles) waves. These periods...

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