What is Consciousness?

States of consciousness vary over the course of the day and throughout our lives. Important factors in these changes are the biological rhythms, and, more specifically, the circadian rhythms generated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Typically, our biological clocks are aligned with our external environment, and light tends to be an important cue in setting this clock. When people travel across multiple time zones or work rotating shifts, they can experience disruptions of their circadian cycles that can lead to insomnia, sleepiness, and decreased alertness. Bright light therapy has shown to be promising in dealing with circadian disruptions. If people go extended periods of time without sleep, they will accrue a sleep debt and potentially experience a number of adverse psychological and physiological consequences.


Source:

Spielman, R. M., Jenkins, W. J., & Lovett, M. D. (2020). Psychology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at https://openstax.org/details/books/psychology-2e

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