Explore Consciousness - Waking, Self-Awareness and Altered States - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  975 Words
Date:  2022-12-27


Consciousness is the mental state of awareness of one's surroundings. It organizes perceptions, feelings, and desires that we have. There are different types of consciousness, that is, waking consciousness that we have while we are an awake and altered state of consciousness. Additionally, there is an aspect of consciousness known as self-awareness which enables a person to scrutinize what he/she is thinking and the reason why. An altered state of consciousness, on the other hand, is a state where the conscious awareness is and a person experiences more than one conscious state. This paper discusses daydreaming as an altered state of consciousness, the relationship between altered states of consciousness and culture, how circadian rhythms affect physiological functions, how disruptions in circadian rhythm affect one's mind, and what happens to the brain during particular types of altered states of consciousness as seen in the video.

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Daydreaming is a state of consciousness where a person isolates himself from reality and enter a state of fantasy while awake (Killinger, 2009). Daydreaming is an ideal choice of an altered state of consciousness as we get to know how people get to project themselves in imaginary worlds to experience their fantasies. Singer (2014), highlighted that people can navigate consciousness from reality to fantasy without even having a trigger. Singer (2014) continues by stating the importance of daydreaming such as helping in enlarging the fantasy capacity among children. Furthermore, there is a lot of brain activity in the section of the brain that is frequently attacked by Alzheimer's disease - the entorhinal cortex.

The Altered States of Consciousness and Culture

Religion has had a significant role in the alteration of consciousness. Through meditation, a religious way for relaxation and restoration of balance, Christians would enter an altered state of consciousness and converse with God (Cardena, 2011). However, we get warned against the dangers of a higher state of consciousness.

Cardena (2011), gives an example of a cultural practice by a fortune teller, a Vodu, where a woman got possessed with a spirit. Their understanding of the circumstance was that the woman was in an altered of consciousness with a modified situation that she had to live in.

Circadian Rhythms

This is a twenty-four-hour cycle that regulates physiological functions in a person's body. It dictates the body on when to sleep, wake up and eat. Circadian rhythm is affected by factors such as room temperature and sunlight. It is advisable not to disrupt the Circadian Rhythm as they can result in obesity and other neurological conditions such as stress and depression

Disruption of Circadian Rhythms

There are physiological consequences in the disruption of circadian rhythms. Some of these consequences affect a person's mental health, physical wellbeing or emotional state (Qayum, Waheed, & Ali, 2018). Working overtime or taking extra shifts disrupt the circadian rhythm which is followed by acute stress, deprivation of sleep, headache and stomach ache. Additionally, sleep deprivation directly affects the nervous system which leads to disturbance in muscle movement.

Sleep Cycles

Sleep cycles get broadly divided into two, that is, non- rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement sleep. The first phase involves:

Non-Rapid Eye Movements

The early stage lasts for five to ten minutes and in this phase a person's eye lightly close. He can also easily wake up with any slight disturbance. The second stage is when your body temperature falls, heartbeat slows down and preparing for bottomless sleep. The third stage is when a person is in a deep sleep and unaware of your surroundings. Usually, a person feels confused for a while when suddenly woken up.

The Rapid Eye Movement

This sleep occurs typically 90 minutes after falling asleep. During this phase of sleep, a person's brain gets more active and registers a high heart rate with quick breaths.

Sleep Patterns

The first sleep pattern is monophasic sleep patterns, where a person has one sleep a day, roughly an eight-hour long sleep. The second being biphasic sleep pattern, which is a sleep pattern where a person sleeps two times a day. In this type of sleep pattern an individual in addition to the regular sleeping hours, has a 90-minute sleep time after lunch meal. The third sleep pattern is polyphasic sleep patterns; this is where of sleep a person sleeps several times in a day.


Sleep disorders are conditions that negatively affect a person's ability to sleep (Killinger, 2009). Sleep disorders exhibit symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue during the day and difficulty in catching sleep. Different sleep disorders include insomnia, which is characterized by a total lack of sleep. Symptoms of insomnia include stress, digestion problems, and hormonal imbalance. Narcolepsy is another disorder characterized by 'sleep attacks' in the day. It gets also accompanied by multiple sclerosis. Restless leg syndrome is another sleep disorder that is characterized by tingling of the hind limbs. Sleep apnea is associated with pausing in the breathing rhythm during sleep. Finally, parasomnias, which is characterized by weird movements during sleep.


Consciousness is a broad term that requires input from scholars and psychologists to accurately define it. Societies should promote constructive altered consciousness, such as meditation done in conjunction with yoga movements. People should not ignore sleeping disorders as some are very adverse. Furthermore, altered states of consciousness need to be given much attention and awareness of the dangers of diving deep into altered consciousness created.


Cardena, E. (2011). Altering consciousness: Setting up the stage. Altering consciousness. Multidisciplinary perspectives, 1, 1-21.Killinger, Eric. (2009). Daydreaming and fantasizing: Thought flow and motivation APA Psych Net, pp. 225-239.

Qayum, M., Waheed, N., & Ali, W. (2018). To Compare Sleep Quality Among Basic Sciences & Clinical Post Graduates Trainees Working At Tertiary Care Teaching Hospitals And Allied College. Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Journal, 68(5), 1362-67. http://pafmj.org/index.php/PAFMJ/article/download/2323/2017

Singer, L. Jerome. (2014). Daydreaming and fantasy (psychology revivals), Taylor & Francis Group, 7 June, 294. Retrieved form: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315778679.

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Explore Consciousness - Waking, Self-Awareness and Altered States - Essay Sample. (2022, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/explore-consciousness-waking-self-awareness-and-altered-states-essay-sample

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