Sleep & Consciousness
Lecture Summary
Biological Rhythms
The What and Why of Sleep   
Stages of Sleep
Dreaming and Dream Interpretation
Sleep disorders
Consciousness and Altered States
Drugs and Consciousness

Rhythms of the body
Biological Rhythms - periodic and regular fluctuations in a biological systems such as body temp, sleep, activity, ...

Circadian rhythm - a biological rhythm with a period of about 24 hours - latin 'circa' about 'dies' day and are affected by all sorts of environment cues.

Entrainment occurs where biological rhythms are synchronized with external cues, such as daylight.

-Studies in bunkers or caves (living without time cues) lead to "free-running" rhythms. Usually get 18 to 36 hours.

Cycle is normally controlled by SCN suprachiasmatic nucleus of hypothalamus- information from eyes.  Leads to changes in levels of melatonin from pineal gland. Secreted during dark hours and keeps sleep-wake cycle going...
-Melatonin also  affects sexual activity cycle in hamsters.

-Blind people often have disrupted sleep-wake cycles, insomnia.

Internal desynchronization often occurs with (jet lag or daylight savings time - where it's easier to shift west or late)
-affects energy level, mental skills, motor coordination
-use bright lights or melatonin to 'reset clock.'

Mistleberger (1991) found genetic differences
- night owls vs. early birds

-Melatonin supplements - treat insomnia as in older people who have a decline in levels of melatonin and sleep.

Why Do We Sleep?
Protection and recuperation. Offering "time-out" period to restore reserves of energy, eliminate waste, repair cells, and grow, strengthen immune system.

Sleep Deprivation
Can function on sleep deprivation for 1 day, but 4 days is unbearable. Yet, don't need to make up all of deprived sleep. ?

Mental flexibility, attention, and creativity are affected by sleep loss. Eg., several days - irritable, hallucinations, and delusions (car accidents)

Seems to play a role in learning & memory, 'mental housekeeping'  and consolidation of memory & creativity.  Reinforcement of daily activities.

Without sleep fall back on skill maintenance and development and gain weight through metabolism changes (ghrelin and cortisol increase and leptin decreases).

The various types of sleep
1950's - started to study electrical activity of the brain during sleep and discovered REM using EEG (now several measures)   Chart

The 4 Stages of Sleep S1 S3
Start with wakefulness move into alpha waves (8-12 cps) are relatively large, slow brain waves characteristic of relaxed wakefulness. (eyes closed) . RAS is involved in sleep regulation

Falling asleep S2

n-REM1 (Stage 1) Brainwaves become small & irregular, breathing slows - drifting off into light sleep - may have a few visual images, or myoclonic jerks - (eg. when leg jolts your body)

n-REM2 (Stage 2) Occasional bursts or "sleep spindles" are emitted and are not stirred by minor noises. This is the stage for half of all sleep.

n-REM3 (Stage 3) Mix of stage 2 sleep waves and the slow delta waves of deeper sleep emerge. Hard to arouse, breathing and pulse are slowed muscles are relaxed. Body releases growth hormones and builds body.

n-REM3 (Stage 4) Delta wave have taken over now in "Deep Sleep" need vigorous shaking, loud noise to be awakened. Sleep walking and sleep talking usually occur here - quite common, especially among children. Some dreams, but not vivid.

It usually takes about 30 - 45 minutes to go down through these stages    and another 45 to come back up (90 minute cycles). S1 S3

Changes in sleeps patterns across human development

Go back through entire sleep cycle several times throughout a regular night, where stages 3 & 4 diminish or disappear and REM increases in time to 30-60 minutes.

REM sleep involves rapid bursts of brain waves, Heart Rate increases with blood pressure, breathing becomes faster and more irregular, may have twitches in face and hands, genitals engorged.

Paradoxical sleep because brain is very active and most of body is paralyzed
Dreaming is most common here

Dreams are carried out over a period of time roughly equivalent to real time, if awaken during REM early in night get short reports, late get long reports

Purpose of REM sleep? unknown, but get a rebound if REM is deprived and is common among mammals in cats, dogs, dolphins, porpoises, anteaters.  Learning and memory Consolidation


Dreams and Theories of Dreaming


Dreams vary tremendously across people & across nights in terms of content, structure & actually remembering.

Lucid Dreams - dreams in which one is aware of dreaming. how to

-Consciousness of the dream and often able to control or change the nature or the dream or what happens next.

-Skilled lucid dreamers can move eyes with actions.
(suggests that eyes follow actions for other dreamers)

Theories of Dreaming
I. Dreams as Unconscious wishes
Freud (1900) - Interpretation of Dreams is the "Royal Road to the Unconscious"

Libido - psychosexual energy is expressed in dreams creating events that are unacceptable to the normal conscious mind.

Classically the oedipus complex is at the root of libido repression and dream transformation (ie., penis is symbolised as umbrella, snake, cigar and vagina as a tunnel, cave, door) .

The emergence of the super-ego occurs as result of the resolution of the oedipus complex.


Latent Content - the deep unconscious wishes that are the sources of dreams, such as the oedipus(or electra) complex.

The interactions of the id, ego and super-ego lead to the dynamics of the latent content which is then filtered into the manifest content.

Manifest content- expressed dreams as we experience them consciously or semi-consciously.

Scientifically minded "Causal Theory" - suggesting universal, biologically based dream symbols.


II. Dreams as problem solving
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
"Final Theory" - working out problems of everyday life - emotional etc.
During crisis or stress may have more vivid / 'wild' dreams

Dream Symbolism is also due to the constellationing of the unconscious mind by conscious situation.

Dreams may involve: 1) Compensatory 2) Prospective 3) Reductive 4) Reactive types.

Dreams are expressions of our personal complexes of thought and emotion in the psyche as well as the archetypes of the collective unconscious which are present in myths. the Wisdom of dreams Transference & Archetypes


The collective unconscious, however is 'deeper' where is contains and expresses the common psychic background of all humanity. A universal reservoir of psychic symbols and energy, the collective unconscious harbours the archetypes or prototypical patterns of mythology, dreams, and fantasies.

Anima & Animus are forms of femininity and masculinity that are developed in the collective and personal unconscious and affect the ways in which we experience.

                                                yin yang

-Anima represents the "image" of women for men and exists in their unconscious.
-Animus represents the image of man for women and exists in their unconscious.

Animus & Anima

Mother - may arise in response to a real 'mother figure' or a "divine" one. Can be positive or negative , light (fairy) or dark (witch), both loving and terrible (both are seen in the Wizard of OZ).

Hero - has opposite (the demon) usually involves some moral victory (often symbolized as slaying a dragon), also needs to suffer before realizing 'mission' of helping or saving. Joseph Campbell  Star Wars

Shadow - the 'dark half' of personality where 'repressed' desires, motives, ideas, ... are banished. In mythology it is often represented by the demon or devil.  {See video} - opposite of persona (mask) sometimes revealed through rituals like Halloween

-It is important to accept or recognize these 'disowned' aspects of our self, balancing with the ego rather than leading to its dissociation and the fractionation of the self.

This often results in projection of the shadow traits onto other people, accusing them of the things one is or does but cannot come to conscious understanding of.

Trickster -Magicians or tricksters are common among American Native mythologies and in Africa and India. Usually joking or playing pranks, the trickster has a dual nature, presenting himself in one forms then another, or half animal half human.

Synchronicity occurs when events arise simultaneously in a meaningful fashion, such as when an archetype emerges in the collective unconscious of number of people. Dream similar images without real contact.

III. Dreams as by-product of mental trashing
Process, assimilate & integrate new information - get rid of unwanted info

Crick & Mitchison (1995) REM is "reverse learning" un-needed associations are broken - where dreams are 'mental garbage'

Appear to have a critical period for REM to help in memory consolidation (eg., Israeli study-wakened during REM have loss of memory, during deep sleep have no loss)

IV. Dreams as interpreted "brain activity"
Activation-Synthesis Theory - The theory that dreaming results from the cortical synthesis and interpretation of neural signals, triggered by activity in the lower part of the brain.

Spontaneous firing of giant cells of the RAS of the pons - Acetylcholine (Ach) cells - during REM burst of firing like a machine gun, then stop and go back through other stages (reloading the gun) - again firing.

Give Ach blockers - reduce REM

While this activity takes place the cortex (interprets) attribute meaning to the events that are being stimulated, although it is just brain activity.



Sleep disorders

Insomnia - A condition where people have recurring problems falling or staying asleep. Insomniacs tend to underestimate the amount of sleep they actually get. Development might precede mood disorder.

Narcolepsy - is a condition where people uncontrollably fall asleep, tend to fall directly into REM sleep (involving sleep paralysis). A neurotransmitter orexin appears to be involved, as also in alertness.

Sleep Apnea - is a condition where the sleeper stops breathing, usually waking up abruptly with a feeling of choking. Usually associate with loud snoring, and often have troubles keeping alert in the day time.

Night Terrors - a stage four sleep event that involves higher arousal and feelings of terror, sometimes involving sensation of the incubus (cat) on their chest. Sleep waling and sleep talking also tend to appear during the "deeper" stage of sleep.



The Nature of Consciousness & Altered States


Consciousness - Awareness of the environment and one's own existence, sensations, and thoughts.  Seen as the source intelligence, a form of soul or simply a property of organized matter.

Artificial Intelligence - Cognitive scientists and philosophers of Mind ponder the possibility of creating consciousness in robots or machines. MIT'sCog

The Turing test  is one orientation for considering the test of consciousness . If a human cannot determine whether a robot is a machine or human being then it has pass the test. See Daniel Dennett (video)

Alternatively John Searle provides us with the "Chinese Room" analogy, along with the metaphor of a computer simulation of a hurricane.


States of Consciousness - Distinctive and discrete patterns in the functioning of consciousness, characterized by particular modes of perception, thought, memory, or feeling

Altered States of Consciousness - A state of consciousness that differs from ordinary wakefulness or sleep. Changes in consciousness can occur through dancing, sweat lodges, starvation, drugs, ...
[see Fischer, 1967 for diagrams of self ]
  Jill Bolte Taylor

Siegel (1989) the motive to alter consciousness is the 4th drive next to thirst, hunger and sex.

Drugs and Altered States of Consciousness


Classifying Drugs
Psychoactive Drugs - are chemicals that are capable of influencing perception, mood, cognition & behaviour

-Often difficult to classify them as many (most) drugs have different effects which overlap the boundaries that we use to describe them. E.g., Alcohol in small doses appears like a stimulant, but in larger doses is clearly a depressant (is a disinhibitor).  "Main" and "side effects" are not always easy to differentiate.

Stimulants- uppers - cocaine, (met) amphetamine, nicotine, caffeine. Speed up the CNS. Small doses - feelings of excitement, confidence, well-being, euphoria; LARGER doses - anxious, jittery, hyper-alert, VERY LARGE DOSES - convulsions, heart failure, death

Sedative Hypnotics -downers or depressives - alcohol, tranquillizers, barbiturates. Slow down the CNS activity feel calm, drowsy, may reduce anxiety & guilt.

Barbituates & alcohol share a site, along with a benzodiazepam (anti-anxiety) site on a GABA activated chloride channels (inhibition) of nerve cells.  All fit different receptors on the same neurons. The combined use of these drugs can be fatal.

Opiates - Drugs derived from Opium Poppy that relive pain and produce euphoria, eg., Morphine, Heroin, and synthetic forms like Methadone.  Mimic endorphins nature pain relieving chemicals of the brain. Anandamine.

Some bad synthetic heroin has produced total paralysis something like serve Parkinson's disease. Depletion of dopamine.

Psychedelic Drugs - Consciousness altering (expanding) drugs that produce hallucinations, change thought processes or disrupt the normal perception of time and space. E.g., LSD, Mescaline, Psilocybin.

Marijuana - Cannabis Sativa a mild psychedelic ?- mild stimulant, increasing heart rate, tastes, sounds, colours, more intense. Affects serotonin systems in perception and limbic acting as a neuro-modulator regulating other neuro-transmitter and a mood enhancer. CPA Psynopsis special issue Summary


Moderate doses - relaxation or sleepiness -may impair co-ordination, concentration, reaction times. LARGE doses hallucinations, sense of unreality & dissociation.

The physiology of Drug Effects
A variety of actions: block re-absorption, increase release, bind (replace) receptor sites. E.g., Ecstacy - (MDMA) has been suggested that it causes permanent damage to serotonin producers (although not certain). Analogous to synthetic heroin - "coma."
See for what happens to your brain on ecstacy.  SS

Tolerance- increased resistance to drugs effects accompanying continued use; as tolerance develops, larger doses are required to produce the same effects that were previously brought about by a lesser amount.


Addiction is usually associated with tolerance, however the Rat Park Studies at SFU by Bruce K. Alexander have shown that addiction is not an automatic consequence of expossure to drugs, even morphine.


Withdrawal Symptoms -Physical and psychological symptoms that occur when some one addicted to a drug stops taking it.

The Psychology of Drug Effects
Drug responses depend on a person's physical condition, mental set, environmental setting, experience with the drug.

1) Physical condition - body weight, metabolism, initial state of emotional arousal & individual tolerance.
2) Experience with the Drug - Number of times used and levels of past usage
3) Environmental Setting - Party or Home, friendly or scary place, with friends or alone
4) Mental Set - expectations about the drug's affect. Reasons for taking the drug. (placebo studies)

Hypnosis: What it is and what it's not...
Using a monotonous or relaxed voice, a person is lead to relaxation, a feeling of sleepiness. . . . sinking deeper . . . focusing of attention is central to any form of hypnosis (self or other induced).

1) Hypnosis is not sleep

2) Hypnotic responsiveness depends more on the effects and qualities of person being hypnotized rather than the hypnotist. hst  CISDissociative Experiences Scale (and others)

3) Hypnotized people cannot be forced to do things against their will, they choose to 'under control' of suggestions

4) Hypnotic induction increases a person's suggestibility but only a modest degree; people will accept suggestions with and without hypnosis.

5) Hypnosis does not increase the accuracy of memory
often boosts errors - confabulation and reconstruction

6) Hypnosis does not produce a literal re-experiencing of long ago events e.g., hypnotic age or life regression act like adult trying to be a child or someone else without accurate perceptions or judgments of the events.

7) Hypnotic suggestions are not just placebos; they have been used effectively for many medical and psychological purposes - Relax and be more healthy (meditation) get rid of headaches, anaesthetize, change habits (behaviours)

Theories of Hypnosis
Hilgard (1962, 1977, 1988) involves dissociation - a split in consciousness in which one part of the mind operates independently of another (like lucid dreams & simple distraction).

The other part is the Hidden Observer watching, not participating - unless given specific instruction, people are not aware of the 'hidden observer'.
Cold Presser Test Report feeling no pain - but free hand pressed keys to signal pain!

Socio-cultural explanations
-behaviour as part of continuum of normal social & cognitive processes
- playing a role - submitting self to suggestions.