A2 psychology essay help!!!!! Watch
Outline and Evaluate the restorative theory as explanation of a function of sleep:
The restorative theory is suggested to be a purpose of sleep that serves the function of restoring the body in several ways; firstly Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is said to be the stage of sleep that releases the growth hormone. This hormone is functional for renewing proteins and involved in protein synthesis, and also involved in the immune system in restoring antibodies. This idea is supported by Sassi et al who looked at individuals who "reversed" their sleep cycle, so they were asleep during the day and awake at night, and the growth hormone was still released during sleep, supporting the role of the REM sleep and release of neurotransmitter, and showing the importance of sleep as a restoritive function.
Another aspect of the restorative theory as an explanation of sleep, is the idea that brain development takes place during this stage, which is why babies have longer REM sleep, as they are processing information such as memories, aswell as secreting growth hormone etc. This view is a biological view, and contrasts with the evoluationary theory of sleep which suggests babies have longer REM sleep as an adaptive response for parents to be able to work, hunt etc, which contrasts with the restoritive theory. However, it has been found that length of REM sleep is directly proportional to the immaturity of the species, for example dolphins have no REM sleep and can swim from birth, compared to the platypus, who has 8 hours REM sleep.
Another restorative function of sleep, is the idea that during REM sleep you are processing memory. It is suggested that unwanted memories are discarded and wanted memories are made more accesible; but a more complex link that this has been found, suggesting Slow wave Sleep (SWS) is needed for semantic and episodic memories, and REM sleep is needed for procedural memory.
Studies into the restorative function of sleep, as an explanation of sleep, are hard to carry out, firstly because of ethical implications that it is perhaps not psychologically safe to prevent someone from sleeping, to see the effects. Secondly it is hard to find individuals who will not "react" as much to the study, e.g. are more motivated, or wont become nervous, or stressed which will ultimately effect the results. Therefore studies into the restoritive theory of sleep are anecdotal and are perhaps not the most reliable as individuals who provide these stories have not provided subjective reports as they could be lying. Nevertheless, studies which have looked at sleep deprivation, do suggest mixed findings for support of the restorative theory of sleep. Firstly, Peter Tripp stayed awake for 201 hours and found within the first 3 days he felt abusive, then by the 5th day he felt paranoid and experianced hallucinations, and towards the end he had a low body temperature. This supports the importance of sleep on mental health aswell as physical health, supporting the restorative theory as an explanation of sleep. However in a contrasting study, a 17 year old stayed awake for 11 days and did not experiance any psychotic symptoms. Therefore it suggests that there are many individual differences in the function of sleep and it is hard to carry out research that can be generalised to everyone. Also age differences make a huge impact on research, as studies into children and adults will be different (especially babies and adults) because they have different purposes in their sleep. The 17 year old boy could have felt less ill effects because his circadian rhythm is different to Peter Tripps as he is a teenager and may feel naturally more awake. Therefore it is hard to carry out research into the restorative effects of sleep, as sleep deprivation may effect each individual differently, suggesting different restorative effects.
Animal studies have been looked at to see the effects of no sleep, and what would happen. a study by Gesbracht, stopped rats falling asleep by moving the ground they were standing on when they fell asleep. After 33 days, they died, suggesting the importance of sleep. However they could have died for other reasons as the psychologist most likely did not look after them, treat them properly etc. However pigeons had the same study carried out, with no ill effects found. This shows the differences in species, and if there is a difference between pigeons and rats, there is most likely an even bigger difference between humans and rats, as humans are far more complex. Another issue is ethical implications of this study. Studies should not be carried out into animals, unless it is for the "greater good" of humans, but research into sleep does not provide greater improvement for reducing human suffering etc, therefore this study into animals is perhaps not ethically correct, despite also not being generalisable to humans.
Main good point is that you are trying to take a critical approach which is excellent. There is a clear attempt to evaluate the research.
Main negative point is that a.) you have a tendency to make sweeping statements that are inaccurate and b.) you do not always develop your ideas fully. I.e You hint at a key point but do not spell it out.
As an example of point a...
You say it is hard to carry out research into the restorative theory of sleep because it can be unethical to deprive people of sleep. However, sleep deprivation studies are done all the time and the current research is far from anecdotal. Remember, sleep deprivation after just 1 night could produce a significant difference in behaviour compared to a control group. (It would, however be rare to deprive people of sleep for long periods of time).
As an example of point b
"The 17 year old boy could have felt less ill effects because his circadian rhythm is different to Peter Tripps as he is a teenager and may feel naturally more awake.."
You could definitely develop this more so that the point you are trying to make is clearer. E.g. What does the research say about sleep patterns during teens compared to later life. How can circadian rhythms differ and what are the implications of this? Can we really draw any conclusions from individual case studies?
You are on the right track. Hope this brief reply helps!
SWS produces growth hormones for physical repair, whilst REM sleep is important for BRAIN RECOVERY.
HEADS UP TO ALL FUTURE PSYCHOLOGISTS LOL