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What are ultra radian rhythms

Last less than 24 hours


Explain the sleep cycle as an ultra radian rhythm

leep Cycles
Sleep has 5 stages that occur through the night that span approximately 90 minutes and the cycle continues throughout the night.
Each stage is characterised by a different brainwave activity which can be monitored using EEG.


What happens in stage 1 of sleep cycle

light sleep where the person can be easily woken. At the start of sleep brainwave activity becomes slower and more rhythmic (alpha waves), these become even slower as sleep becomes deeper (theta waves)


What happens in stage 3 and 4 of sleep cycle

waves which are slower still and have a greater amplitude (change) than earlier wave patterns. This is deep sleep and it is difficult to rouse someone at this point


What happens in stage 5 of sleep cycle

REM sleep
Body paralysed
Brain speeds up significantly in manner that resembles the awake brain

REM - fast activity under eyes correlated with dreaming


What is another cycle that is less than 24 hours regardless of sleep cycle

Best rest activity cycle
90 minute cycle that is found during continues during the day


Explain basic rest activity cycle

Human mind focuses for a period of 90 minutes
Towards end of 90 minutes body begins to run out of resources - loss in conc , fatigue and hunger


Explain Ericsson er als study

Ericsson et al (1993) found that the best violinists tended to practice for three sessions during the course of the day, each session lasted no more than 90 minutes and there was a break between each in order to ‘recharge’.


Explain strength of ultraadian rhythms (supporting evidence)

evidence supports qualitatively different stages in sleep.

Dement and Kleitman (1957)
monitored sleep patterns of nine participants in a sleep lab and found evidence for stages of sleep —> REM sleep.

REM activity during sleep correlated with dreaming
participants woken during dreaming reported accurate recall of their dreams.

suggests that REM (dreaming) sleep is a distinct ultradian rhythm and an important component of the ultradian sleep cycle.


What is a limitation of ultra radian rhythms (individual differences)

One limitation is that there are individual differences in sleep stages.

Differences in sleep patterns of individuals are due to differences in non-biological factors for example room temperature.

Tucker et al suggests
differences are biologically determined and may even be genetic.

Participants were studied over 11 consecutive days and nights in a strictly controlled laboratory setting.

sleep duration, time to fall asleep and the amount of time in each sleep stage.

large individual differences which showed up consistently across the eight nights.

Individual differences may mean that it is difficult to generalise the results of such studies to the wider population.