Numerous factors determine when and why you feel tired, full of energy, andhungry. A person’s state of consciousness and awareness varies throughout theday and depends on a person’s activity, environment, and time clock. As a humanwe have what is called circadian rhythms, which simply explains our daily highsand lows. An example of your basic up and down rhythm would be the sleep/wakecycle.
Sunlight regulates the sleep/wake cycle by causing the suprachiasmaticnucleus to decrease its production of melatonin in the early morning andincrease it in the evening. Melatonin is a hormone that if increased in bloodlevels makes an individual drowsy or tired and if decreased will make them morealert. Certain individuals will experience that their biological clock is oftenout of sync. This can be explained sometimes from either jet lag, working thenight shifts or graveyards, and Monday-morning fog. Sleep in itself has its ownbiological patterns and rhythms.Order now
Hans Berger introduced theelectroencephalograph to us so that we would be able to measure the patterns andrhythms of sleep through a record called an EEG. Two different patterns of sleepare REM sleep and NREM sleep. The NREM sleep actually has four stages involvedin it. During the first stage a person becomes slightly drowsy because of themixture of alpha and theta brain waves.
At the second stage, an individual tendsto have bursts of brain activity for a short time, which in terms are calledsleep spindles. The second stage also involves theta brain waves and thebeginning of delta waves. The third and fourth stages of NREM sleep are oftenreferred to as “slow-wave sleep”. Both of these stages are measured bythe amount of delta brain wave activity.
During REM sleep, the sleeper isunconsciously active. His eyelids may flutter, he may have increased heart rate,and occasional muscle spasms. The two basic sleep theories are the evolutionaryand restorative theories of sleep. The evolutionary theory of sleep suggeststhat our sleep patterns are based on or defined by evolution. The second theorysimply offers that sleeping restores and rejuvenates the body throughphysiological processes. Sleeping disorders have a variety of effects on aperson.
Insomnia simply disallows an individual to actually fall into deep sleepand feel rested in the morning. Sleepwalking and night terrors are much morecommon in childhood then in the adult life and occur during the deepest stagesof NREM sleep. When a person repeatedly stops breathing during his sleep it iscalled sleep apnea. This sleeping disorder usually tends to occur in older moreheavy weight men. Another sleeping disorder is narcolepsy, which sends anindividual in an instant phase of deep REM sleep regardless of where they areand whom they are with.
Dreaming is yet another state of consciousness. A dreamis simply an unfolding episode of mental images that involve characters andevents. Dreams usually tend to occur during REM sleep but can occur during NREMsleep as well. We dream on a variety of topics, subjects, and individuals. Nodream can be exactly interpreted or defined, therefore people have always beenfascinated with what, why, and how we dream. An unpleasant and almost terrifyingtype of dream is a nightmare.
This is a very vivid, almost real like state thatproduces quick anxiety and a sense of helplessness in the situation. Anothertype of dream would be the lucid dream in which the dreamer knows he is dreamingand can often guide the course of his dream. Hypnosis is a very controversialstate of awareness because of its changes to an individual’s perception, memory,and behavior. Not everyone can be hypnotized. The most susceptible people arethose who approach it with a positive attitude.
When subjects are deeplyhypnotized they have said to experience detachment from their bodies or extremerelaxation which changes their subjective experience of consciousness. When aposthypnotic suggestion is made during hypnosis the subject will act on that fora short time after being hypnotized and sometimes up to a couple of days afterthe session. Ernest Hilgard suggested that while hypnotized a person experiencesdissociation that splits consciousness into two or more streams of mentalactivity. Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that alter moods,perceptions, as well as a person’s conscious state. After abusing a psychoactivedrug for a period of time your body will become physically adapted to it andcreate a tolerance for it and in return a person will increase their intake ofthat drug to feel the same effects. When an individual does decide to quitabusing, he will generally experience withdrawal symptoms.
The four categoriesof basic psychoactive drugs are depressants, opiates, stimulants, andpsychedelic drugs. Depressants tend to depress and slow down brain activity. Alcohol is considered a depressant drug, though unlike other drugs this one islegal. Other types of depressants would be the barbiturates, tranquilizers, andinhalants. Barbiturates and tranquilizers reduce anxiety and increase sleep. Inhalants are chemical substances that when inhaled alter a persons state ofconsciousness.
The second category of drugs is the opiates that produce euphoriain individuals. Types of these drugs include heroin, morphine, and even aprescription painkiller called Demerol. The third category of the psychoactivedrugs is the stimulants. Caffeine and nicotine are included in this category andtend to play a large role in today’s society. Individuals drink coffee, sodas,tea, and smoke cigarettes often.
Out of the large variety of abused drugs, thisis the most widely abused, for the fact that neither if them is illegal. Anotherform of stimulants is cocaine and amphetamines. Both of these drugs tend to havethe same affects being that they suppress appetite, intensify euphoria, mentalalertness, and self-confidence. Soon after the “high” wears off,strong feelings of depression are exchanged for those of excitement, which makesthis drug, a very addictive one.
The last type of drug is the psychedelic drugsor LSD. These drugs make a person generally hallucinate, and depending on theperson’s personality, the outcomes will vary differently. A person’s state ofconsciousness will vary from each person through his or her activity, dreams,and even choices. Every one of us has a biological clock as well as circadianrhythms, though we choose to allow it to work properly or to force it to be outof sync with the rest of time.