Sleep, Circadian Rhythm, Hypnosis, and Meditation

September 16, 2012
by Pharm Tao

Sleep, Circadian Rhythm, Hypnosis, and Meditation



Circadian Rhythm


Relevant Brain Structures



Pineal gland Close to the hypothalamus Rapid eye movement (REM)

Melatonin (low in the morning, high in the evening)

Reticular activating system (RAS) Brain stem
Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) Hypothalamus


Sleep Stages



Brain waves



Stage 1 non-REM (NREM) Alpha -> theta Light, hallucinations  
Stage 2 NREM Theta + sleep spindles, K-complexes Deep  
Stage 3 NREM Theta -> delta (20-50%) Deep  
Stage 4 NREM Delta (50-100%) Deep Needed for growth, healing, learning consolidation, restoration
REM Beta Motor paralysis, dreaming, hallucination Learning consolidation, CNS rest


Sleep Disorders


Sleep disorders



Insomnia Not able to sleep or waking up early Stress, depression, fatigue
Narcolepsy Too much daytime sleepiness; sleep attacks Genetic factors
Parasomnias Sleep walking, night terrors, teeth grinding, bruxism More common in children; poly-drug abuse in adults
REM sleep behavior disorder Punching and acting in dreams More common in elderly males; brain stem malfunction
Restless legs syndrome Sudden movements of lower limbs during sleep Stress, depression
Sleep apnea Repeated breathing stop during sleep More common in males older than 50 and overweight people
Sleep paralysis Unable to move for a while after waking Stress



Hypnosis, Meditation, Daydreaming: Varied States of Consciousness





Daydreaming Turning thoughts inward  
Meditation Refocusing of concentration; alpha brain waves Relaxation
Hypnosis Refocusing of attention Can be used for pain and stress management

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