To Sleep Perchance to Dream Crash Course Psychology 9
Comedian Mike Birbiglia was having troublewith sleep. Though not with the actual sleeping part onenight, while staying in a hotel, he dreamed that a guided missile was on its way to hisbed, and in his dream, he jumped out the window to escape it. Unfortunately, he also did this not in hisdream. From the second floor. And the window wasnot open. This little episode cost him 33 stitches anda trip to a sleep specialist. Mike now sleeps in zippedup mummy bags forhis own safety.
The lesson hereé Sleep is not some break timewhen your brain, or your body, just goes dormant. Far from it. In truth, sleep is just anotherstate of consciousness. And only in the past few decades have we begun to really plumbits depths from why we sleep in the first place, to what goes on in our brains whenwe do, to what happens when we can't sleep. And there is a lot that science has to sayabout your dreams! Talk about weird! It's like Sigmund Freudmeets Neil Gaiman. So, even though it may seem like you'redead to the world, when you sleep, your perceptual window remains slightly open.
And kinda like Mike Birbiglia's hotel roomwindow, a trip through it can make for a pretty wild ride. But for your safety and enjoyment, I'm hereto guide you through this state of consciousness, where you'll learn more than a few thingsabout human mind, including your own. And here's hoping you won't need any stitcheswhen we're through. INTRO Technically speaking, sleep is a periodic,natural, reversible and near total loss of consciousness, meaning it's different thanhibernation, being in a coma, or in say, an
anesthetic oblivion. Although we spend about a third of our livessleeping, and we know that it's essential to our health and survival, there still isn'ta scientific consensus for why we do it. Part of it probably has to do with simplerecuperation, allowing our neurons and other cells to rest and repair themselves. Sleepalso supports growth, because that's when our pituitary glands release growth hormones,which is why babies sleep all the time. Plus, sleep has all kinds of benefits for mentalfunction, like improving memory, giving our brains time to process the events of the day,and boosting our creativity.
But even if we're not quite sure of allthe reasons why we sleep, technology has given us great insight into how we sleep. And for that we can thank little Armond Aserinsky.One night in early 1950s Chicago, eightyearold Armond was tucked into his bed by his father.But this night, instead of getting a kiss on the forehead, little Armond got some electrodestaped to his face. Armond's dad was Eugene Aserinsky, a gradstudent looking to test out a new electroencephalograph, or EEG machine, that measures the brain'selectrical activity. That night, as his son slept peacefully, hewatched the machine go bonkers with brain
wave patterns, and after making sure thathis machine wasn't somehow broken discovered that the brain doesn't just quot;power downquot;during sleep, as most scientists thought. Instead, he had discovered the sleep stagewe now call REM or rapid eye movement, a perplexing period when the sleeping brain is buzzingwith activity, even though the body is in a deep slumber. Aserinsky and his colleague Nathaniel Kleitmanwent on to become pioneers of sleep research. Since then, sleep specialists armed with similartechnology have shown that we experience four distinct stages of sleep, each defined byunique brainwave patterns.
Trouble in Bed When Sleep Turns Against Us
Say you've been napping, like between classes, or after a long night out, or, I don't know, after broadcasting on YouTube for 48 straight hours to raise money for charity. Now, imagine you waking up, and suddenly you discover that you can't move. You want to speak, but you can't; you're mind is acutely aware of what's happening, but you are powerless to get your body to do anything. It may last a few seconds, it may last a few minutes, in rare cases it can last more than an hour it's called Sleep Paralysis and you might not have to imagine it
because up to 40% of us have experienced this sleep disorder at some point in our lives. I am one of them. We don't like to think about the bad things that can go on while we're in dreamland just as we hate the disorders that keep us from even falling asleep Hello, Insomnia. But even though we've talked a lot on this show about the science of sleep Why we need it Why we dream
and where dreams come from. There is a whole other polymorphously messed up realm of human biology that explains what happens when sleeps turns against us. We can't turn our brains off. We forget to breathe. We have waking hallucinations. Some of us even walk, eat, run, and have entire conversations when we're asleep. The halfasleep brain is a crazy place
and once you understand it, you may never see the back of your eyelids the same way again. (intro music) When most people think of the things that cramp our sleep style they think, Insomnia. But defining, diagnosing, and treating this most common sleep disorder can be tricky. In fact, for a long time, most scientists considered insomnia to be a symptom of another problem like depression, anxiety, asthma, stress, substance abuse, a traumatic injury even jetlag Though, today, insomnia is considered by many to be a chronic disease of its own
that interacts with other medical conditions So, if you've ever had prolonged trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep but you don't have any other health issues then s would probably say that you have Primary Insomnia. If you do have something else going on, like a physical or psychological condition then you've got Secondary Insomnia. And most cases of Secondary Insomnia are chronic meaning it lasts for more than a month.
There are also cases of Acute or shortterm Insomnia which is usually triggered by stress or some specific life event Whatever the cause scientists believe these Insomnias are the result of the simple but eternal struggle between arousal and sleepiness. More and more research is suggesting that a condition known as HyperArousal where the nervous system remains in a constant state of alert may be the main reason for chronic insomnia.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea versus Central Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is when the airwaybecomes narrowed or obstructed and you're making the effort to breathe but we do notsee any flow in air movement coming from your nose or mouth. Where central sleep apnea occurswhere your brain forgets to tell your body to breathe. If we're looking at it from avery simplistic term and so we do not see the drive to breathe. So the first step isto come into the and be seen by one of our physicians in the sleep medicine .We'll go through a questionnaire and try to determine what risk factors we think you havefor sleep apnea such as obesity, snoring, daytime sleepiness and then if we think thatyou have a high risk for meeting those criteria
then we would set you up for a sleep studyeither in your home to do an overnight sleep study or in our laboratory, depending on yoursituation. The CPAP can be used to treat both conditions and, in some patients, that isenough. However, there are some patients that have more complex types of central sleep apneathat require more complicated types of machines to treat that condition. Obstructive sleepapnea actually has been linked to a lot of other problems such as high blood pressureand then, you know, difficulty functioning during the day. If it goes untreated for along period of time there's an increased risk of early heart problems and those types ofthings.