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REM Sleep Research Paper - A Better Way to Open Up?

kalvin126 2 / 1  
Apr 19, 2012   #1
I was revising my REM Sleep research paper earlier and I couldn't help but think my opening sentence is really boring. Whats a better way for me to open up my research paper into the REM sleep topic? I think the guidelines for a research paper are clear. Any other suggestions are helpful. Thanks!

REM Sleep

Everyone craves sleep, especially during those long hours at work. The way the sleep process works is impressive. There are two different stages of sleep that serve special purposes called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and non-REM sleep. In 1920, Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman, who is known as the "Father of American sleep research," began research in Chicago. He began by questioning the regulation of sleep and wakefulness of circadian rhythms. His studies included sleep characteristics in different populations and the effects of sleep deprivation. In 1953, he and ones of his students, Dr. Eugene Aserinsky, made the landmark discovery of REM sleep. Since this discovery, many other researchers have extended the researched and have related REM sleep to dreaming and emotion ("A Breif"). Given the researched conducted over the years, sleep is never more important for not only human performance, but also emotion.

There are two types of REM sleep: tonic and phasic. Phasic REM sleep is the part of REM sleep where phasic bursts of rapid eye movement take place. Tonic REM sleep refers to parts of REM sleep between phasic REM sleep (Pressman). REM sleep does not start right when one falls asleep. Whithin the sleep process, there are period of REM. Within the average eight-hour sleep, there are five REM sleep periods. Researchers have found that humans, on average, begin the first period of REM sleep 60 to 90 minutes into their sleep. As one shifts between REM and non-REM sleep, REM sleep periods increase. One usually spends 60 to 90 minutes between REM sleep in non-REM sleep state. The first REM sleep period averagely lasts five minutes, whereas the fourth and fifth period may last up to an hour. So to obtain more REM sleep, one must sleep longer. Because of REM sleep's characteristics, people who sleep more than seven hours receive more REM sleep, and are well rested than those who sleep less (Hammon). In comparison, non-REM sleep, also called deep or Delta sleep, dominates the sleep duration due REM sleep beginning in short periods. Snoring has also been found to only occur during non-REM sleep ("The National").

REM sleep is also known as dreaming sleep. Originally, dreaming was believed to only occur in the REM state; however, researcher proved that it also occurs in the non-REM state to a lesser extent. Therefore, there is a possibility that there may not be a single moment of sleep where one is dreamless. Bizarre plots characterize dreams in the REM state, whereas non-REM dreams are repetitive and thought like, with little to no imagery. Dreams can be extraordinarily vivid or very vague; filled with joyful emotions or frightening imagery; focused and understandable or unclear and confusing. Because longer periods of REM sleep occur towards the morning, it is easier to wake during the REM states. If one wakes up during the REM states, one may easily remember what their dream was about ("The National"). In addition to dreams, there are nightmares. Nightmares are typically bad dreams, and they may actually scare some children; adults may also have nightmares. Whether it is problems at home, bullies at school or work, or a death of a loved one, nightmares may occur if one faces stressful events during the day or feels pressured. Having nightmares, which is normal, is a way to relieve any pressures faced during the day ("KidsHealth").

The purpose of dreaming is unknown. Scientists have proposed many theories; however, none have been declared as the purpose. Some scientists believe humans dream in order to fix experiences in long-term memory, that is, we dream about things worth remembering. On the other hand, other scientists believe dreams eliminate overlapping memories that would clog up the brain. This theory uses a computer metaphor, which accounts for dreams. Much like a computer cleaning up unnecessary files off it's hard drive, this theory suggests that one's mind would be cleaned up to prepare for the next day. However, most scientists speculate that dreaming is the result of two evolutionary adaptions - sleep and consciousness ("The National").

In Sigmund Freud's famous book, The Interpretation of Dreams, he wrote that dreams are, "...disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes" (qtd. in Cherry). According to Freud's view on personalities, people are driven by aggressive and sexual instincts that are held back from conscious awareness. While these thoughts are not consciously expressed, Freud suggests that they find their way into our awareness via dreams. He then described two different components of dreaming: manifest and latent content. Manifest content contains actual visuals and thoughts. On the other hand, latent content represents the hidden psychological meaning behind the dream. Many theorist praise Freud for his theory, as it contributed to many other dream interpretation theories; however, he had failed to prove that the manifest content covers up the real psychological importance of a dream (Cherry).

Starting a day off good begins with a good sleep; however, not everyone wakes up in a good mood. Recent studies by researchers at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, discovered a relationship between REM sleep, and emotion. Observing 30 men and 30 women sleeping over two nights, the researchers noticed that more REM sleep contributes significantly to reducing negative mood overnight. REM sleep provides emotional relaxation and rejuvenation, whereas non-REM sleep provides daily physical and mental rest, and renewal. This is why many people recommend a good, eight hour long, night sleep. One does not sleep to only rejuvenate physically and mentally, but also emotionally (Hammon).

More or less than humans, REM sleep occurs in all land mammals; however, not all dream. Dreaming mammals besides humans include: cows, cats, dogs, chimpanzees, horses, and cows. The amount of REM sleep an animal gets is related to its safety in its own environment. Predators will have more REM sleep than their prey ("The National"). The more danger for the animal, the less REM sleep. Ducks at risk of attack by predators are able to balance the need for sleep and survival by keeping one half of the brain awake while the other sleeps. The animals' development at birth also plays a role in how much REM sleep it gets. Animals that are born fairly mature have less REM sleep, whereas animals that continue to grow and develop more after birth have more REM sleep, such as humans. Observing animals, elephants non-REM sleep standing up, but lie down for REM sleep; horses and giraffes must also lie down to experience REM sleep. Giraffes have about 20 minutes of REM sleep each night in periods of one to six minutes each ("Animals:"). Humans sleep, on average, three hours less than other primates, such as chimps, monkeys, and baboons, all of which sleep on an average of 10 hours ("The National").

In conclusion, in order to get the best physical, mental, and emotional rest, one must sleep at least seven hours; eight is recommended. Sleeping is very important all animals. Sleeping rejuvenates, renews, and heals physically, mentally and emotionally. Dreaming is also an important component of sleep, as it helps clear one's mind overnight, and at the same time, reduce negative energy within the mind. All this contributes to getting up on the right side of the bed every morning. REM sleep provides a positive start to one's day if enough is received.

basawang 10 / 76  
Apr 19, 2012   #2
Everyone craves sleep, especially during those long hours at work. The way the sleep process works is impressive.

Sleep is essential for humans. Since the dawn of history almost every human has spent nearly one third of his or her life sleeping; surprisingly, little was known about the process of sleep until modern technology unravels its mystery.

This opening statement may be too bombastic. Well...it depends on you.


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