Date of Award

Fall 1980

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

Abstract

Little was known about the process of sleep until the late 1950's. The discovery of the relationship between electroencephalogram, rapid eye movements, dreams, and advances in neurophysiology has improved the understanding of the functions of sleep and the various sleep stages. On the whole, contemporary sleep research has remained atheoretical (Webb & Cartwright, 1978). Nursing researchers have conducted few studies that are related to sleep. This may be due to the youth of this new area. There is a need to organize current literature findings on sleep before research in this area can proceed. The normal process of sleep and wakefulness and the functions served by this process are described in this essay. Since nursing concerns itself with individuals throughout the life span, the developmental changes in sleep are discussed. The relationship of sleep with other variables is examined with reference to nursing practice. The areas of sleep deprivation and insomnia are also discussed. A research proposal, designed for future nursing investigation is included.

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