MODULE 5.1 SUMMARY
What is an altered state of consciousness?
• Consciousness is a core feature of mental life.
• Altered states of consciousness are defined by changes in the quality and pattern of mental activity.
• Cultural conditioning greatly affects what altered states a person recognizes, seeks, considers normal, and attains.
What are the effects of sleep loss or changes in sleep patterns?
• Sleep is an innate biological rhythm necessary for survival. Sleep-deprived people experience microsleeps.
• Moderate sleep loss mainly lowers performance on routine or boring tasks. Extended sleep loss can (somewhat rarely) produce a temporary sleep-deprivation psychosis.
• Sleep patterns show some flexibility, but 7 to 8 hours is the average. The amount of daily sleep decreases steadily from birth to old age.
Are there different stages of sleep?
• Sleep occurs in four stages. Stage 1 is light sleep, and stage 4 is deep sleep. The sleeper alternates between stages 1 and 4 (passing through stages 2 and 3) several times each night.
• The two most basic sleep states are rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep. REM sleep is strongly associated with dreaming.
• Dreaming and REMs occur mainly during light sleep, similar to stage 1. Dreaming is accompanied by emotional arousal but relaxation of the muscles.
(Coon, Dennis. Psychology: Modules for Active Learning, 11th Edition. Wadsworth Publishing, Jan-08. p. 211).