Sleep and wakefulness
Sleep and wakefulness are two states of consciousness that we all experience. They are different from one another and yet have much in common. We are in a state of wakefulness during most part of the day. This is a state during which we are alert and engage in various activities. However the level of alertness varies at different times, being lower when we awaken from sleep and gradually increasing as we become engrossed in our daily activities. Alertness is at its maximum when we are engaged in difficult or challenging tasks. During the state of wakefulness we are aware of our own perceptions, thoughts, feelings and sensations as well as being aware of the external world. It is a state of awareness of ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes when we are awake we are lost in daydreaming- a state where consciousness seems to be drifting and is dominated by wishful thoughts. Sometimes we can even perform two tasks at the same time. For instance many people do driving and listen to music. This generally happens when one of the two tasks is fairly automatic and does not require much attention.
We spend one third of our lives sleeping. Many bodily processes--- sleep-wake cycle, as well as body temperature, hormonal secretion, blood pressure and heart rate fluctuate in a 24 hour cycle of day and night. This fluctuation is known as circadian rhythm. It is controlled by a small area in the hypothalamus in the brain. Jet lag is an example of body’s disrupted circadian rhythm.
It is through EEG that one can study the brain wave pattern during the states of wakefulness and sleep. It is found that when we are awake and alert, the brain wave pattern is characterized by fast, low amplitude beta waves. As we relax and close our eyes, we enter a relaxed wakefulness which is characterized by slower, rhythmic cycles called alpha waves.
Sleep has been divided into four stages, moving from light to deep sleep. Sleep cycle generally repeats about every 90 mins. The average person has about 4 to 5 sleep cycles during a night’s sleep.
3.2 Globalization and Acculturation (in Indian Context)
In recent years, the study of Globalization and its consequences has attained considerable significance. Globalization can be defined as a process in which ideas and behaviours, technology and information are exchanged and disseminated between different cultures worldwide. We are all touched by globalization –in the clothes we wear; in the information we receive etc. Globalization can be understood as a case of cultural diffusion leading to positive consequences, such as promoting social tolerance and co-operation, cultural understanding, and social awareness toward differences- equivalent to some sort of universal humanism. However globalization in all its different forms and manifestations has resulted in rapid cultural change, which many people find difficult to adjust to. For example, the spread of multinational corporations (MNC's) has been accompanied social mobility leading to changes in family structure. More and more families are becoming nuclear and the joint family system is eroding. Young boys and girls are moving away from home, both within the country and abroad, in connection with educational and opportunities, and living independently. DTH or cable network has also facilitated exposure to other cultures leading Indian society to become more open and ready to experiment with western practices and traditions, ranging from using western styled outfits to celebration of friendship day/ Valentine’s Day etc. Acculturation based on cultural contact is a major source of social change and cultural complexity.
3.3 Diversity and Pluralism (in Indian Context)
Over the years Indian society has been exposed to varied social, political, and cultural influences which have led to a multiplicity of caste, creed, religion, and language etc. Also, India has wide geographical diversity in terms of flora, fauna, and terrain which has led to diversity in food habits, dress, occupational structure etc. In fact these are intertwined leading to further variations across traditions, community norms, and festivals. In the process of socialization in the changing socio-cultural context the differences across generations increased. They became a part of our thought processes resulting in stereotypes, prejudices and racial or gender discrimination. Incidences of communal riots, dowry death, female infanticide etc are some of the manifestations of these conscious and sub-conscious biases. As the negative influences of diversities were getting deeper into our subconscious the same socialization agencies were working towards pluralism in our society and taking pride in the composite and rich culture of India. According to the Webster dictionary, “Pluralism is a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain an autonomous participation in and development of their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization.” Mass celebration of Diwali, Onam, Holi and Id; growth of literature in different languages, influence of European and Persian architecture and music etc. in our daily lives are examples of ‘pluralism’. India with its distinct characteristics and tradition is in a unique position in the whole world. Our diversity has not only led to a rich cultural heritage but also hold out the promise of a nation with well integrated multi skilled human resource.