By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:
- Describe different neurotransmitter systems that regulate sleep and wakefulness
- Relate the activity of different brain regions to different states of consciousness
- Examine the impact of different lifestyles on sleep patterns
Your online learning will include the following methods:
- Reading academic and non-academic articles
- Participation in written discussions with other students
- Participation in discussion in videoconference seminars
For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.
Week 1: Neuroanatomy and neurochemistry of sleep
Sleep as a state is a result of an orchestrated effort of many brain regions and networks. The chemical signals sent from one region to another regulate which parts of the nervous system become more or less activated during sleep.
Week 2: Regulation of sleep and arousal: sleep stages
Apart from the general state of reduced consciousness, sleep can be broken down into four stages that alternate throughout the night. The switch between different stages of sleep is regulated by the brain networks explored in the previous week.
Week 3: Circadian rhythms: how sleep structures life
The way the body physiology adapts to light and dark cycles is governed by the circadian rhythms. Apart from inducing sleep and wakefulness, circadian rhythms influence other body functions, such as body temperature, hormone release and hunger.
Week 4: Sleep need and impairment/advances in sleep research
Most people underestimate the impact of insufficient sleep on their daily life and general health. Recent advances in sleep science have improved our understanding of the role of sleep and how a lack of sleep impacts body physiology and society in general.
Books, materials and resources
You will access course resources using SFU’s online course management system, Canvas.