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CHAPTER

6 Sleep


Chapter 6 - Sleep _______________________________

Did You Know That…    

Generally, sleepwalking cannot occur during the dreaming phase of sleep, because the motor system is paralyzed. You go through several 90-minute sleep cycles nightly. You dream more just before you awaken. “Short sleepers” are often active, ambitious and conformist while “long sleepers” are often shy, passive and sexually inhibited.  Dreaming may help you store the day’s experiences away in memory.  Nightmares frequently occur a day or so after you’ve stopped taking sleeping pills.  It is in REM sleep that anxiety nightmares take place.

After reading this chapter you should be able to answer the following questions What is sleep? Does everyone have the same sleeping pattern? What is “a short sleeper”? What is a “long sleeper”? Do athletes need more sleep than “normal people”? Is sleep essential to muscular growth and development? Is taking sleeping pills a good method for inducing natural sleep? How much sleep do you need per night? What is REM sleep? How important is REM sleep?

Key Terms Incubus Alpha Brain Waves Delta Brain Waves REM Sleep Short Sleepers Long Sleepers Insomnia Diurnal Rhythms Circadian Rhythms Discriminative Stimuli Premach

Principle


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Introduction _______________________________________________

This is going to be fun, entertaining and extremely informative. We flat out guarantee you…meaning we are relatively sure. All right, we are sure…it is great. You are going to love this section. Now, brace yourself because once again it’s time for one of those little stories. Nilo is going to tell you this one. He is going to start of by telling you a little bit about himself. Hey, Nilo is all about self promotion. Actually, we all are. If you read this far and haven’t figured that out yet, we have a bridge in Brooklyn, New York we would like to sell you. Anywho, just shut up and read it…you will love it. Hi, I am Nilo. Everybody has had a chance to tell their story. Now it is my time. As you might have guessed, we saved the best for last. Okay, I am more into self promotion than they are. Anyway, enough of this small talk. Let me get started. When I was a little boy, about two weeks ago, I was in bed with my little Teddy bear. Everything was cool and right with the world. I couldn’t have been lying there more than five minutes when all of a sudden, I drift off into a nice peaceful sleep. And I couldn’t have been asleep for more than an hour when I heard this terrifying scream. It was unlike any scream I had ever heard before. When I opened my eyes, this large ape like creature was hovering over me. His face was only inches from mine and his eyes looked straight into my eyes. His nose was broad and his mouth was abnormally huge. Large fangs protruded from it. The face was twisted in a sardonic smile and a vile odor oozed from the gaping The incubus mouth. Before I could move, his hand clutched my throat and his mouth covered my mouth and nose. I felt my heart stop! Then, I found myself choking for air. I started fighting for my life, kicking and punching at the beast. It possessed awesome strength though, well beyond any human that I had encountered. I thought I was going to die. The next thing I knew I was running through the house. My heart was pounding wildly and I was gasping for air. The beast was still at my throat trying to choke the life out of me. I could still smell that odor, that vile, stinking odor. In my haste to escape the beast, I ran smack dab into my bathroom door. Mercifully, the impact knocked me unconscious for God knows how long. When I finally gained consciousness and opened my eyes, the beast was gone. For the next ten minutes I just sat there looking around the room, trying to get my thoughts together. It was the incubus. It was the second time that I had fought the incubus. My first incubus attack occurred when I was only 11 years old. To this day, the incubus is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to me. Chances are you haven’t had an incubus attack yourself. If you ever do, you’ll never forget it. It’s absolutely horrifying. Fortunately, an incubus attack occurs in only one person in several thousand. In case you didn’t know, the incubus is a nightmare. Incubus nightmares are not just any nightmare. They are physiologically unique. Usually, your dreaming occurs during rapid eye movement sleep (REM). An incubus attack occurs when vital signs are lower during deep sleep. Furthermore, just before an incubus attack, your vital signs slow down even more. Physiologically, you are approaching a state close to death. At this point, various centers of the brain ∞ WELLNESS FOR LIFE ∞ panic. They react as if you were on __________________________________________________________________ the verge of death. Cardiopulmonary functions immediately skyrocket. How much do we sleep? You are catapulted from deep sleep to consciousness. Most incubus By the age of 80 years, a person will have had over 233 600 hours of attacks contain hallucinations similar sleep, which equals to 26.67 years. A person dreams about 4-5 times a night, so an average 80-year old to the one I had. A large beast lying person will have had 131 400 dreams in his lifetime. How many dreams can on your chest, sucking the life out of you remember? you! Sleepwalking, which cannot occur during REM sleep because the


Chapter 6 - Sleep _______________________________

motor system is paralyzed, is a common part of an incubus attack. Also, as eerie as it is, almost every incubus nightmare begins with a scream… your own scream. Interestingly, most of the time you don’t even realize it’s your own scream. Take my word for it; the whole affair is right out of a Halloween horror movie.

Insomnia _____________________________________________

After my first episode with the incubus, I developed a case of insomnia that plagued me for close to a year. The experience was so horrifying that I was actually afraid to fall asleep for fear that the incubus would return. Although my second incubus attack was just as terrifying as the first, I experienced only mild difficulty sleeping for a week after the attack. I guess knowing that the incubus was no more than a dream and knowing how to deal with sleeping difficulties helped me to alleviate any long range problems that might have developed. However, the incubus did stimulate my desire to learn more about dreams and sleep. Consequently, I embarked on an extensive investigation into the field of somnus. What I discovered was fascinating.

The Sleep Cycle

∞ WELLNESS FOR LIFE ∞ __________________________________________________________________

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Like I said, my incubus experiences got me interested in sleep research. Although most people equate sleep as a physiology aspect of behavior, it also has a social and psychological side. Here is something that will interest you. The guys in the sleep labs with their white clinical smocks and clipboards don’t know why we sleep. They don’t even know what sleep is! They can tell us that sleep is necessary for our bodies to recover from a day’s activity. You really needed to hear that from an expert. These same researchers also are convinced that there is a strong link between sleeping and dreaming. In reality, they think dreaming may be the most important part of the sleep cycle. The sleep cycle seems to have several distinct stages to it. When you first lie down, your brain is probably emitting beta rhythms, which means it is still engaged in active thought. As you start to drift off into light sleep your body temperature drops, muscles relax, breathing will slow down becoming irregular and last but not least, your brain will slip into a peaceful alpha state. This means the brain’s electrical output has slowed to a wave pattern that cycles about 10 to 12 times per second. After close to an hour of this alpha stage, the brain slows even further to delta rhythms and you arrive at deep sleep, but you only get to stay there for about 20 minutes. Something else is

Different Brain Waves.

During consciousness, billions of brain cells fire separately.

Awake with your eyes closed and thinking.

Falling asleep, your brain activitiy goes from Alpha to Beta state.

Sleeping. Your brain cells fire gently in unison.

Delta sleep… deep state (slow wave) sleep.

REM sleep... the dream state of sleep. Your brain is as active as when you’re awake.


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waiting…REM sleep. That’s short for rapid eye movement. The lab guys use a lot of fancy language. Even if they don’t know what sleep is, they sound impressive. Well, it’s during REM sleep that you dream. REM only lasts a few minutes, 8 to15, and even though your eyes may dart about under their lids, the rest of the body is essentially paralyzed! So, when someone thrashes around in their sleep, it’s not because they’re dreaming. The basic cycle of stages takes about 90 minutes and is usually repeated about five times in a normal eight hours of sleep. Though the need for sleep isn’t officially clear, it’s obvious that the lack of sleep has profound effects on our mental and physical performance. As a matter of fact, sleep deprivation has been a basic tool for brain washing experiments. While researchers say most of us can go up to 40 hours without sleep before we begin to show ill effects, it’s obvious they didn’t test me. Typical symptoms of deprivation might include irritability, impulsiveness, lethargy, confusion and irrational ideation. This sounds like any normal morning before the first cup of coffee to me. Well, after 100 sleepless hours things get much worse. Symptoms now mimic a psychotic break: delusions of persecution and many times, extreme hostility. Now, if the subject is allowed to sleep, the sleep cycle will not simply resume its normal pattern. Instead, there is usually a rebound effect for the deep sleep stage. That is, you will experience more deep sleep at the expense of REM, which might mean that deep sleep at that time is more important. One thing remains clear, whatever sleep is, it is extremely important!

The Long and Short of Sleep ______________________________________________________________________________

Now that you are familiar with the sleep cycle, it’s time to learn that we don’t all have the same pattern. According to researchers Frederick Backeland and Ernest Hartmann, the average person sleeps approximately seven and a half hours per day. Approximately five percent of the population sleeps less than six hours a day and another five percent sleeps more than nine hours a day if given the chance. Backeland and Hartmann have identified these individuals as short sleepers and long sleepers, respectively. From a physical standpoint, the researchers found that short sleepers sleep an average of 330 minutes per night. Long sleepers get about 527 minutes of sleep per night. Both groups averaged approximately 75 minutes of deep sleep per night, but long sleepers averaged almost twice as much REM sleep as did short sleepers. Why long sleepers need more REM sleep than do short sleepers is unknown. Backeland and Hartmann believe that personality differences that were discovered between the two groups may be responsible for the different sleep patterns. For instance, they found that short sleepers were generally more ambitious, active, energetic and cheerful. They also were conformists in their thinking and very sure about their career plans. On the other hand, long sleepers were found to be shy, anxious, introverted, inhibited, passive, mildly depressed and unsure of themselves. Interestingly, most of the athletes that we came in contact with had sleeping habits that approximated long sleepers, but their personalities, in our opinion, seemed to be more characteristics of short sleepers. Naturally, that made us wonder if the sleeping habits of athletes were different from that of the normal population. So we decided to find out. Along with two friends of ours, Bob Adams and Keith Barr, we devised an experimental design to determine the sleeping patterns of athletes. We’ll be the first to admit that the design contained some inherent weaknesses, but we will say that it was sufficient enough to give us the information we wanted. First, we selected 240 athletes from a group of 743 volunteers. Only athletes who had been competing for two years or more and were training regularly for at least 10 hours a week were considered for the study. Also, the athletes were selected from only six sports: powerlifting, Olympic lifting, bodybuilding, basketball, soccer and long distance running, with 40 athletes representing each sport. After the athletes were selected, they were instructed to follow a strict sleeping regimen. For example, they were required to go to bed every night at the same time. They were also instructed to immediately record their sack time as soon as they woke up in the morning. Once they awakened, they were not allowed to try to go back to sleep, nor were they allowed to take cat naps during the day. In other words, the only sleep time they were allowed was when they went to sleep at night. Using this procedure, the athletes recorded their daily sleep for a period of six weeks. Only the information obtained during the last four weeks was used for the experiment. The first two weeks of


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the investigation were used to help the athletes get accustomed to their new sleeping regimen. The results of the experiment were extremely interesting. As a group, the athletes slept an average of 501 minutes per night. That’s approximately an hour more sleep than what Backeland and Hartmann found for the average person. In addition, approximately 54 percent of the athletes in the study slept more than nine hours a day and only two percent of the subjects slept less than six hours a day. Both percentages are significantly different from what was found when the average population was tested. From the experiment, it seemed quite obvious that the sleeping patterns of athletes were considerably different from the sleeping patterns of the general population. In general, athletes seemed to need significantly more sleep. Of further interest, was the fact that when the athletes were administered psychological tests, their personality profiles were more characteristic of short sleepers than long sleepers. In general, the athletes appeared to be confident, ambitious, energetic, happy, active and extroverted. They also experienced very little depression, anxiety, tension, fear and fatigue. Obviously, athletes, at least from the sleeping standpoint, are quite different from the general population. Why this might be so may come from the physical and personality differences that are found between the two groups. It might just be that athlete’s experience more physical and mental stress than normal people and consequently, require more sleep.

Sleeping _______________________________________

After our initial sleep study, a second more encompassing experiment was conducted. Although our names appear on the study, we honestly can’t take much of the credit for its design or execution…of course you know we will. The only thing that we did was write the study up. Keith and Bobby did all the work. We really wish we had taken a more active role because the experiment was fascinating. From the subjects that were used in the initial study, five individuals were randomly selected from each of the sports groups. Thus, a total of 30 subjects were selected for the second study. These subjects sleeping patterns were then studied under laboratory conditions using an electroencephalograph machine (EEG). Every night for a period of seven days, the subjects were brought to the laboratory, attached to the EEG machine, and then allowed to sleep. Only the data collected during the last four days of the experiment were analyzed. The first three nights that the subjects spent in the laboratory were used to help them adapt to sleeping in the laboratory setting. Once again, the results were extremely interesting. Although the athletes averaged just slightly more deep sleep per night than what Backeland and Hartmann found for average people, they averaged almost one fifth more REM sleep per night than the general population. Since REM sleep and dreaming are strongly connected, it seems that athletes need more dream time than non-athletes. Why this is the case is only mere speculation at this time. Since everyone dreams nightly, it can be assumed that dreaming serves some necessary function. It has been hypothesized that individuals who are under a lot of stress or who are exposed to new and challenging situations, tend to need more dream time. Perhaps, athletes experience more stress than average individuals. Of course, this is only speculation, but physical training is a source of stress. Although no one knows what the function


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of sleep really is, it is believed that if an individual is deprived of REM sleep, the individual will experience ill effects. In truth, William C. Dement, a Stanford University scientist, proved that very point in a fascinating study that he conducted in 1960. Dement had his subjects sleep in his laboratory every night for a period of ten days. While the subjects slept, Dement monitored their sleep cycles with an EEG machine. When the subjects were in a light or deep sleep, Dement did not disturb them. However, as soon as the subjects entered into the REM period, he would wake them up. After he woke them up form REM sleep, he would tell them to go back to sleep. In almost all cases, as the subjects went back to sleep, their sleep cycle started over again. They would go through light sleep, deep sleep and to REM sleep, at which time Dement would wake them up again. He continued this process throughout the night. Thus, his subjects got all the light and deep sleep that they wanted, but they were deprived of REM sleep and consequently, dreaming. After depriving the subjects of REM sleep and dreaming for several nights, they became cranky, annoyed, impulsive and hostile at times. Dement also reported that the subjects experienced extreme difficulty in learning new tasks and significant decrements in performance of already learned tasks. Interestingly, most of the subjects after a few days of REM deprivation, exhibited shortened sleep cycles. It was as if the subject’s body was trying to rush through its light and deep sleep to get to the REM period of sleep. Dement speculated that the body was attempting to catch up on the REM sleep and/or dreaming that it had been deprived of. Also of interest, was the fact that many of the subjects reported experiencing anxiety and nightmares for several nights after the REM deprivation was discontinued. Apparently, the loss of REM sleep triggered the nightmares. This finding was confirmed with subsequent research. Anxiety nightmares occur most often when the need for REM sleep or dreaming is greatest. It might be noted that various illnesses, particularly those that are associated with a high fever, could reduce the amount of REM sleep that an individual experiences. Perhaps, even more significant is the fact that sleeping pills reduce REM sleep time. That’s right! Those little pills that are supposed to induce sleep actually destroy the most important part of sleep. The pills will knock you out all right, but the sleep and unconsciousness they produce is not normal sleep. Indeed, drug researchers have consistently found that individuals who use sleeping pills over an extended period of time (two weeks or more) develop neurotic behaviors like those of the subjects in Dement’s experiment. Also, like the subjects in Dement’s experiment, once they discontinued using sleeping pills, their REM sleep time increased as did the occurrence of nightmares, restlessness and nighttime awakenings. Furthermore, research has shown that it can take a month or more to repay the REM sleep debt that accumulated in a week’s time. There is also research, though not conclusive, that alcohol like sleeping pills, can reduce REM sleep. Unfortunately, the use of sleeping pills and alcohol to deal with sleep difficulties is a very common practice of athletes. It seems that most athletes are unaware of the ill effects of using these drugs as sleeping agents. The effects of these sleeping agents are variable, unpredictable and result in a strange combination of excitation and depression of the central nervous system. Even in small doses, sleeping pills can produce side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, ringing in the ears and relaxation of muscle tissue. Strangely enough, some people are affected in a reverse way. They experience nervousness, tremors, restlessness and irritation of muscle tissue. Manufacturers also have noted that sleeping pills can cause a type of physiological hangover with symptoms of lethargy and weakness. Thus, an athlete who takes sleeping pills or alcohol the night before a competition may find himself tired and weak even after sleeping for eight hours. Then


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too, it appears that drug induced sleep is not as restful as natural sleep. It is simply better to avoid developing a dependency on any drug. Natural is better.


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