Biological Rhythms-Sleep

  • Nature of Sleep
  • Primary Insomnia
  • Secondary Insomnia
  • Sleep disorders
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Describe the nature of sleep (9)

The sleep–wake cycle offers important insights into the nature of sleep such as:

  • the role of the biological clocks

  • the SCN and the pineal gland

  • the role of biochemicals such as the melatonin.

Sleep DeprivationSleep deprivation research has been carried out to try to clarify the functions of sleep. The reasoning being that the ill effects of not sleeping will reveal the functions of sleep by showing us what happens if sleep is restricted or stopped.

Total Sleep DeprivationTotal sleep deprivation is when the individual experiences constant wakefulness, usually over a temporary period of time.

Partial Sleep Deprivation-Partial sleep deprivation is when the individual experiences a reduction in the amount of sleep compared to normal. Partial sleep deprivation also occurs when participants are deprived of one particular stage of sleep.

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Outline explanations of primary and secondary inso

Insomnia-condition in which there are problems falling asleep and/or staying asleep, and the sleep that occurs tends not to be deep and is easily disturbed.

Insomnia is also, unsurprisingly, linked with fatigue, having poor attention, impaired judgement, decreased performance, being irritable, and an increased risk of accidents.

Insomnia is not a single condition as there are different forms based on the degrees of severity (mild, moderate, severe, acute, chronic) and the causes of the insomnia.

Factors affecting insomnia:

  • Stress
  • Envirormental Factors
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • Personality
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Primary insomnia-(most common) There is a sleep problem, but there is no physiological or psychiatric cause, and it is likely that the sleep problem is the result of maladaptive behaviours or learning.

The clinical characteristics are that the individual has suffered from insomnia for at least a month but this would not be linked with any other sleep disorder, such as parasomnia or narcolepsy, nor with another psychopathology such as clinical depression, nor with medications or substance abuse. Worrying about the insomnia can lead to a cycle that is hard to break because the more a person focuses on their sleep problems the less likely they are to get good quality sleep.

Secondary insomnia-is insomnia that has a specific cause. Examples of such causes include sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome (RLS), circadian rhythm disorders due to night shiftwork, and various medical, substance use, and emotional problems.

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Describe explanations of other sleep disoders (9)

Sleepwalking-is a relatively common sleep disorder. Typically the eyes are open, though often described as glazed or staring in appearance. Somnambulism is most likely to occur during NREM stages 3 and 4, in slow-wave sleep. Somnambulism is most common in childhood, peaking just before or at the time of puberty, however it can continue into adulthood. An episode may last only a few seconds, but can last hours, and when awake the individual will have no memory of what they have been doing.
Narcolepsy-is rare but is characterised by chronic sleepiness, and so the individual may fall asleep at any time. Short naps of 10 to 20 minutes are common, after which the sleepy feeling is temporarily reduced, only to reappear with 2 to 3 hours. Cataplexy can also occur. This is when the muscles lose strength when strong emotions are experienced. The body may droop, sag, or even collapse as if paralysed, but there is no loss of consciousness, the individual does not faint. The episodes may be over within seconds or last some minutes. Sleep paralysis can also occur either at the beginning of sleep or when first awakening and is a brief loss of the ability to move, apart from the breathing muscles and eye muscles. This usually lasts a few minutes and can be very distressing, especially as it is sometimes accompanied by a sense of fear or dread, e.g. the individual thinking they are dead, and even hallucinations. Sleep hallucinations also may occur when dropping off to sleep or when awakening.

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