Psychology Sleep WebQuest


There's a dangerous new epidemic sweeping this country: excessive daytime sleepiness. According to a new National Sleep Foundation survey, an alarming one-third of American adults scored at levels of sleepiness known to be hazardous. Six percent scored at severe levels of sleepiness. Consider the implications of these findings: Although we trivialize sleep problems, sleep-related accidents result in thousands of deaths each year and billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity. The Exxon

Valdez tanker disaster, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident, and the crash of an

American International Airways DC-8-61 were all caused by operator fatigue. This exercise explores the causes of chronic sleep loss and examines exciting new discoveries in the field of sleep research.


So, who cares?  Why is sleep important to us, psychologically?  What does sleep do for our brains and how does that impact our behavior and functionality? 

Your Task: Choose one of the questions below to research.  You may use any of the suggested links and (if you have to) Google to find other, more targeted resources EXCEPT for Wikipedia.  Take notes as you research on a sheet of notebook paper.  When you are finished researching, synthesize your information in a well-written essay-style (in at least one, lengthy paragraph) answer. Whichever question you choose, make sure you restate it at the beginning of your answer.



· (a great site to find information on the relationship between brain function and sleep)

· (a great “tell-all” website that allows you to search for articles)


· (a single article)  

· (scroll down to the middle of the page and click on links under “Leaflets”

· (search bar on the top, just type in what you’re looking for)


1.      We all know that sleep is “good for you,” but what really happens to our brains while we’re sleeping?  Describe the necessity of sleep to your brain function.


2.      Sleep disorders are fairly common in our high-stress society.  Choose one sleep disorder to write a general description of.


3.      In the past century, we have reduced our average sleep time by 20 percent. Going back 20 years, identify societal and individual lifestyle changes that encourage wakefulness and discourage sleep.


4.      Many more women than men suffer from chronic sleep loss. What social, psychological, and physiological factors might account for this gender difference?


5.      Read through the information on the sleep Web sites and select 5-8 of the facts about sleep that you consider most valuable. This information should not be common knowledge; in fact, if it were made public, it might reduce our culture's sleep crisis. Title your list "Facts Everyone Should Know About Sleep and Sleep Disorders."  After each, explain why you think it is so essential for folks to know.