5.1—biological rhythms of consciousness: wakefulness and sleep Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke > 5.1—biological rhythms of consciousness: wakefulness and sleep > Flashcards

Flashcards in 5.1—biological rhythms of consciousness: wakefulness and sleep Deck (21)
Loading flashcards...


a person's subjective awareness, including thoughts, perceptions experiences of the world, and self-awareness.


Biological Rhythms

  • Different types of Biological Rhythms:
  • circannual rhythm: a cycle that happens yearly (e.g. hibernation)
  • infradian rhythm: rhythm that occurs longer than a day (e.g. menstrual cycle)
  • ultradian rhythms: extremely frequent cycles (e.g. urination, hearth rate, breathing)
  • circadian rhythms: (are the most important) internally driven daily cycles of approximately 24 hours affecting physiological and behavioural processes (e.g. hunger and sleep)


Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN)

  • a key brain structure of the hypothalamus.
  • relays light levels in the environment to the pineal gland which in turn, releases melatonin.
  • explains why we are more awake during the daytime and sleepy during nighttime.


Stages of Sleep

  • awake
  • stages 1-4
  • REM sleep


Polysomnography and Electronecephalogram (EEG)

  • polysomnography: a set of objective measurements used to examine physiological variables.
  • electronecephalogram: a device that measures brain waves.


Stages 1-4 or Non-REM (NREM)

brain waves decreases in frequency and increases in amplitude as sleep progresses through the four stages.


REM Sleep

  • REM sleep: a stage of sleep characterized by quickening brain waves, inhibited body movement, and rapid eye movements.
  • brain waves increases in frequency and decreases in amplitude (the same level as when we are awake), despite being asleep.
  • affects our ability to learn and is extremely important.
  • lack of REM sleep can impair ability to learn.


Sleep Cycle

  • go through the 4 stages of sleep into REM, then go through 4 stages again.
  • happens multiple times throughout the night.
  • the duration of REM increases with each cycle.


Restore and Repair | Theory of Sleep

the idea that the body needs to restore energy levels and repair any wave and tear experienced during the day's activity.


Preserve and Protect Hypothesis | Theories of Sleep

suggests that two more adaptive functions of sleep are preserving energy and protecting the organism from harm.


Sleep Deprivation

  • occurs when an individual cannot or does not sleep.
  • can cause multiple impairments including difficulties with multitasking, maintaining attention for long periods of time and assessing risk.


Sleep Displacement

  • occurs when an individual is prevented from sleeping at the normal time although she may be able to sleep earlier or later in the day than usual.
  • e.g. jet lag and daylight savings


Freud's Theory of Dreaming

  • dreams represented our desires.
  • two forms of imagery in dreams:
    • manifest content: involves the images and storylines that we dream about.
    • latent content: the actual symbolic meaning of a dream built on suppressed sexual or aggressive urges.


Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis

  • suggests that dreams arise from brain activity originating from bursts of excitation messages from the pons (a part of the brain stem).
  • imagine having a dozen different people each provide you with one randomly selected word, with your task being to organize these words to look like a single message; this is essentially what your cortex is doing every time you dream.



  • a disorder characterized by an extreme lack of sleep.
  • different types of insomnia:
    • onset insomnia: when a person has difficulty falling asleep (30 minutes or more).
    • maintenance insomnia: when an individual cannot easily return to sleep after waking in the night.
    • terminal insomnia or early morning insomnia: a situation in which a person wakes up too early (sometimes hours too early) and cannot return to sleep.
  • for a sleep disorder to be labelled insomnia, the cause of lack of sleep must be internal (i.e. trying to sleep in a loud environment does not count).
  • secondary insomnia: insomnia caused by depression, pain, too much caffeine etc.
  • insomnia disorder: insomnia in which insomnia is the only symptom and all other causes are ruled out.


Nightmares and Night Terrors

  • nightmares: particularly vivid and disturbing dreams that occur during REM sleep.
  • night terrors: intense bouts of panic and arousal that awaken the individual, typically in a heightened emotional state.
    • a person experiencing a night terror may call out or scream, fight back against imaginary attackers, or leap from the bed and start to flee before waking up.


Restless Legs Syndrome and Somnambulism | Movement Disturbances

  • restless legs syndrome: a persistent feeling of discomfort in the legs and the urge to continuously shift them into different positions.
    • is linked to the dopamine system and to an iron deficiency.
  • somnambulism: (or sleepwalking) a disorder that involves wandering and performing other activities while asleep.
    • there are no medicine that treats sleepwalking.


Sexomnia and REM Behaviour Disorder | Movement Disturbances

  • sexomnia: a disorder in which individuals engage in sexual activity such as the touching of the self or others while in stages 3 and 4 sleep.
    • the cause is unknown although stress, fatigue, and a history of trauma are all possible factors
  • REM behaviour disorder: a condition in which individuals act out the content of their dreams (unlike sleepwalking).
    • can be treated with medication such as benzodiazepines.


Sleep Apnea

  • sleep apnea: a disorder characterized by the temporary inability to breathe during sleep.
  • prevalent amongst overweight and obese individuals.
  • is usually caused by blockage to the airway but can also be caused by the brain's failure to regulate breathing (this is more rare).



  • narcolepsy: a disorder in which a person experiences daytime sleepiness and even sleep attacks.
  • medications are available to treat narcolepsy.


Overcoming Sleep Problems

  • practicing good sleep hygiene (healthy sleep-related habits) are the most beneficial.
  • medication can also help but should be used as a last ditch effort.

Decks in 🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke Class (50):