Author

Shannon Igo

Date of Award

2016

First Advisor

Katie Boswell

Second Advisor

Erin McMullin

Abstract

Though everyone needs to sleep in order to maintain proper physical and mental health, there are obvious differences in sleeping behaviors among individuals. Those differences are not just apparent among different people, but are also found among different cultures. While people have certain characteristics about themselves that are based in biology, such as the natural changes in their energy levels throughout the day, the daily choices that individuals make are informed by their culture. Sleep is a necessary biological process to ensure good health because of the restorative function that it has on the brain and body. Cultural practices can lead to negative biological effects if the individual is pressured to conform to a schedule that is unnatural to their personal circadian rhythm. There is documentation that lack of sleep in college aged students can lead to decreased cognitive functions and ill health, which can be permanent; especially when the sleep deprivation is long-lasting, as it so often is in this group. Through examining cultural effects on sleep, I wish to gain a better understanding of sleep habits worldwide in order to form a broader appreciation for the various ways that individuals embody the cultural practices in which they live.

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