Human beings experience different biological rhythmic changes when they are sleeping or dreaming due to different experiences during the day. We all have internal biological clocks that are called endogenous pacemakers these are controlled by the environmental factors that are known as the exogenous zetgebers. These factors are responsible for making sure that the period changes are controlled. The rhythms that are connected with sleep and dream are circadian, ultradian, and REM also known as rapid eye movement.
The circadian rhythm the period it takes is a whole day experience. One example that is commonly known is the sleep wake cycle that is connected to the cyclical changes that is the dormant and active period a good example is urine production. According to researches that have been conducted people who are not getting enough zetgebers due to, the temperature changes such as sunrise and sunset during a particular will influence a change in the cyclical rhythm that could extend for 25hours (Myres). Therefore, the endogenous pacemakers are able to maintain rhythm but requires the exogenous zetgebers to maintain a strict rule of 24 hour rhythm.
The brain's internal clock is stored in the suprachiasmatic nucleus found in the hypothalamus this controls the circadian rhythm. This result has been proven because a hamster was cut and it showed that circadian rhythm was disrupted (Brandt). Lights in the brain could affect the person’s rhythm causing it to be 25 hours rather the normal 24 hour cycle. People without enough light have problems sleeping this means that they need to take drugs that will help them have a normal rhythm of sleep. The pineal gland that is found in the brain converts serotonin neurotransmitter to the melatonin hormone. The hormone will be transmitted in the blood stream that will cause the rhythmic changes in the body.
The ultra rhythms
Ultradian rhythm cycle appears less than 24 hours. A good example is alertness of people in the daytime and the cycle of the activity when people are sleeping (Pinel). The EEG or the electroencephalogram is used to show the brain activities when one sleep.
The stages of sleeping
The first stage of sleeping, the EEG shows signs of theta waves. In this stage, it occurs for a period of 10 minutes where the physical changes include the slow movements of the eyes that are rolling and the individual will be able to be woken easily. The body muscles are relaxed and the heartbeat slows down in preparation of entering into deep sleep. In this stage, the individual will have incidents of hallucination because the individual will feel like they are floating in the air. This is due to the relaxed state they are in when they start sleeping.
The second stage of sleeping the EEG is irregular with some waves of theta. There is the periodic occurrence of the sleep spindles that is commonly known as the rapid rhythmic brain wave activity. The body temperature will continue to decline and the muscles will be more relaxed. This stage takes about 20 minutes (Myres). In this stage, the sleeping individual can still be woken up with ease and it has been heard that people tend to sleep talk.
The third stage of sleeping and dreaming. In this stage the individual is in deep sleep. The EEG is of high amplitude delta waves that are over 50 percent. This stage lasts for a period of 30 minutes. The person will not be woken up easily since they are in deep sleep. According to research that has been conducted, the metabolic levels have reduced tremendously.
The fourth stage of sleeping and dreaming in which one is in deep sleep thus cannot be woken up easily. REM is experienced at this level in which the eye moves frantically like one is watching something from underneath the eyelids. The individual will have dreams at this stage and it is believed that when a person is woken up at this point they are then likely to remember every detail about the dream. With a REM sleep, the individual will have high heart rates and their breathing is irregular. In this stage, individuals experience sexual arousal, which leads to the formation of the word morning wood especially for men.
Dreaming occurs in the fourth stage of sleeping. Dreams are the delusion of the mind that is sleeping, they can either be emotional and vivid. Most of the time in the night, people have different dreams that can range from nightmares or lucid dreams. Lucid dreams are classified into two types which are dream initiated lucid dream which is a situation where the person becomes aware that they are dreaming. The other is wake initiated lucid dream this is a situation where a person wakes up in the middle of a dream and continues dreaming without any conscious thought. Nightmares bring about emotions that are not pleasant such as pain, death, falling, fear and horror. According to Sigmund Freud, dreams are associated with our daily events or experiences such as trauma (Myres). There are other reasons that cause nightmares such stress and high fever when a person is sick. Continues nightmares may cause sleeping disorders. A person with continued nightmares should seek counselling.
In summary the stages of sleep and dreams are measured using the EEG neurotransmitter. This will determine the stages of sleeping and when REM is discovered then the individual is said to be dreaming. The fourth stage of sleeping is the one that contains dreams and sleep walking because they are in deep sleep. The first stage is making the individual have hallucinations because this is the part where they are in a state of relaxation. Dreams can be classified as lucid and nightmares.
Brandt, Michelle L. "It's true for achieving hoop dreams, says study." Stanford school of medicine (2011).
Myers, David G. Psychology. New York: worth publishers 10th Ed, 2011.
Pinel, J.P.J. Biopsychology. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1992.