Sleep Apnea

Essay by staci1University, Master'sB+, October 1996

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Sleep, why do people sleep at all? Why can't we just stay awake?

Some biologist suggest that sleep provides the opportunity to conduct

self-repair and purge the body of it's waste that has built up during

the day's activity. Nevertheless, the body is capable of repairing

itself and disposing of wastes during waking hours, so sleep in a way

really isn't necessary for routine maintenance (e.g., urinating, etc.).

Dr. Quentin Regestein, lead sleep and sleep disorders researcher at

Harvard Medical School also believed that sleep kept our distant ancestors

out of harms way during the night when they could not see as well as

their night roaming predators.

Sleep is regulated by a connected series of structures in the

deep midline areas, and along other way stations that extend through

the central axis of the brain, these structures relay information about

things that affect sleep. In Dr. Regestein notes, he spoke of experiments

that were performed by researchers.

The researchers he spoke of would

destroy specific brain structures of a lab animal and then note how

the animal slept. For instances, in one lab animal the researcher

cut through the axis of the brain at one level, which would prevented

the animal from awakening; showing that brain structures below the

level of the cut were responsible for awakening the lab animal.

The American Sleep Disorders Association (ASDA), Association for


Psychophysiological Study of Sleep (APSS), Association of Sleep Disorder

Centers (ASDC), and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has

studied sleep and sleep disorders since the early 1970's. Out of all

the sleep disorders currently being studied, sleep apnea has gain world

wide attention, affecting over 15 million people. Apnea, derived from

the Greek word 'want to breath.' Sleep Apnea (cessation of air flow

at the mouth for greater than 10...