Sleep Deprivation

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I'm looking for information to convince my students to sleep. They need scientific proof that sleep will help them in their studies. Many of my high school students only get 4 hours of irregular sleep a day because they stay up at night to study. Could you help me? I am teaching in the rural mountainside of Korea where we don't >have access to library and books -- just the Internet.

Victoria Lee


We have a rhythm in us that oscillates around the 90-110 minute cycle. This cycle seems to be 'on' all of the time. Imposed on this is our sleep cycle that seems to be eight hours a day (depending on metabolic rate. If you go to sleep with a high rate so you will sleep longer than if you go to sleep with a low rate. The 'fact' that metabolic rate affects subjective time determination my having something to do with this in that internal body clocks are being sped-up/down. To reduce sleep time you would need to lower metabolic rate first, thus playing computer games (or programming or multimedia learning) prior to going to bed is detrimental to sleep in that these games can raise MR..better to play them in the morning and so help to 'wake up' the mind ;-))

When the sleep signal is transmitted from the 'old' brain so it does not force a total shutdown. There is the suggestion that the general 'sleep' command has to, in some degree, accomidate the 90-110 minute cycle. We see this in dreaming in that REM dreams reflect right hemisphere biases (harmonics -- colours, sounds etc but also lack of causality; things are sorted by value regardless of 'correct' order) Stage IV dreams are more left biases and 'matter-of-fact' and 'ordered' but lacking in harmonics).

What seems to happen is that PARTS of the brain remain awake whilst others sleep.

If we then switch to our waking life, so the same 90-110 minute cycle operates and we find that there are times when we are proactive and intense in our work and other times when we are reactive and reflective in our work (or we just daydream! ;-)) If we fight this cycle so we can introduce stress to our bodies that then introduces stress in our minds. (most lectures etc last about 90 mins since the attention span can start to wander. For children, since the metabolic rates in relation to size are higher, so their time determination is very different to adults and we see what appear to be shorter attention spans...)

How do we deal with this cycle and remain fit and active? one way is to use the cycle to 'cat nap' and so take 20min naps every 110mins or so, you never 'sleep'..just cat-nap. This however can affect social interactions ;-)

In schooling, by setting-up a regime, so different individual cycles will start to resonate with each other and so synchronisation can take place. You could then split the lesson times into proactive phases and reactive phases and so fully utilise those phases to refine the education process; which would include a 'rest' period during the reactive phases .. even to a degree of light meditation exercises which if done properly can work better than sleep does in restoring well-being. (See, for example, the book "The Relaxation Response" which looks at meditation 'objectively' and seeks the 'facts' and ignores the cultural colourings.) Note that due to the subjective time differences so proactive/reactive times for little children will be different compared to those for teenagers..

We now consider the phenomenon of state-specific memories. In simple terms, the state you are in whenever you experience something works to anchor a memory such that the experience will be recalled when your body is in the 'same' state.

I had a friend who used to study whilst 'stoned' (hash). When the exams came he took them 'straight'. He failed; he could not remember anything!

If you study when you are tired (and so more reactive than proactive) this will affect recall. When you go to take the exam, the stress of the exam itself will speed you up and so a wider difference will appear between the two states and you may 'forget' things! Since the exam will favour a high MR resulting from the stress alone, better to study during the proactive phases of the cycle and so 'resonate' with the exam!

Thus rather than fight the cycle and be inefficient, better to ride with the cycle and be efficient (but dont tell the 'managers' I said this ;-)) and this ride includes 'normal' sleep or else meditation phases. This approach favours linking with the cycles of life rather than opposing them...


Chris Lofting.

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