Psychology defines sleep as a natural, periodic, and reversible loss of consciousness. When individual are sleeping, they often go through four stages which include stage 1, 2, 3, 4, and the REM sleep. These sleeping stages progress regularly from stage 1 through Rapid Eye Movement and then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleeping cycle takes about 90-110 minutes. The initial sleep cycles have moderately short REM sleep and long durations of deep sleep. However, after midnight, REM periods often lengthen and the periods of deep sleep increase. The purpose of this essay is to list stages of sleep and explaining how they differ.
This phase is characterized by light sleep when individual drifts in and out of sleep. In this stage, a person can be awakened easily. The muscles activities are usually slow, and the eyes tend to move slowly. Many individuals experience unexpected muscle contractions followed by feeling of falling (Myers, 2013).
Myers (2013) argues that in this stage, people experience reduced eye movements,slower brain waves and sporadic burst of quick brain waves. This phase lasts for about 20 minutes. Body temperatures start slowing down. The difference between this stage and the first stage is that it becomes harder to wake a person as opposed to stage 1 where a person can be easily woken up. The first two stages of sleep are known as light sleep.
This stage begins 35-45 minutes after people fall asleep. The brain waves tend to slow down and become larger. Rapid Eye Movement starts kicking in this stage. An individual can sleep even with potential sleep disturbances such as movements and noises without reacting to them (Myers, 2013). When a person happens to wake up during NREM sleeping stage, the chances are high that a person will feel disoriented for the first few minutes. This stage differs from stage two in that, an individual begins to have deep sleep at this stage.
This is the last sleeping stage. The initial Rapid Eye Movement continues for about ten minutes and stars after a person has slept for around ten minutes. In this stage, eyes move rapidly in all directions. The most powerful dreams occur at this stage. Some individuals wet their beds and sleep walk during REM sleep. Increased respiration and heart rates also characterize this stage. Their rhythms are usually irregular. REM stages may even last for an hour. This stage differs from all other stages since it is majorly characterized by dreaming (Myers, 2013)
Responding to Harry
To answer Harry, I would first take Harry through the different sleeping stages. As discussed earlier, dreaming mostly occurs in stage five or the REM sleep. I would explain to him that the REM sleep is usually characterized by increased brain activity that is why he was dreaming being abducted by aliens. The dream occurred because the brain and the other body systems were active and muscles were relaxed and paralyzed. I would also explain that the reason why Harry was floating throughout the experience was that after his fourth stage of sleep, stages two and three were repeated before he went to the REM sleep. Since Harry could remember his dream clearly, the chances are high that someone woke him up because when individuals are woken up, they tend to remember every detail of their dream.
In summary, sleep does not progress through all these stages sequentially. Nevertheless, it begins in the first stage and then moves to stage 2, 3, and 4. After the fourth stage, stage 2 and three are repeated before one goes to REM sleep, and when this is over, individuals go back to stage two and sleep. Each person passes through at least three stages of sleep
Myers, D. (2013). Psychology. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
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