Sleep belongs to our daily life since birth and cannot be experienced consciously. Sleep and wakefulness may be defined as the states of the brain that depend on specific neuron systems. Sleep is considered to be the state of inactivity, which is usually characterized by reduced responsiveness to external stimuli or the loss of consciousness. During the sleep, our brain can consolidate memories, process different information, und undergo different processes that may influence our activities and functioning during the daytime. It is evident that during the sleep our brain is not fully disconnected from the environment, and a variety of external events can reach our consciousness. Wakefulness is characterized by the absence of sleep, awareness, consciousness, and activity (McCarley & Sinton, 2008). It is also often defined as the state of the brain or consciousness in which a person is engaged in behavior or cognitive responses to the external world. The state of wakefulness is contrary to the state of being asleep when external inputs to the brain are excluded from neural processing. Wakefulness is considered to be a necessary and active state of the brain having a homeostatic and circadian regulation and being precisely meshed with other states into the sleep-wakefulness cycle.
Every night we undergo change when we leave waking consciousness and deepen into the world of dreams and deep sleep. When we wake up, as a rule, we remember nothing about our dreams. In spite of the fact that physiological mechanisms of being asleep and the state of wakefulness are closely interrelated, recent researches show distinct differences which happen in the active brain processing and neurochemical systems of the two states (Schwarz & Roth, 2008).
The change from being asleep to the state of wakefulness occurs when a person begins to stir and then awakes. When a person arouses, he/she begins to make small sounds, stretches, yawns, stands up, moves around, etc. The process of waking up is the process of increasing awareness to the effects of recent social, environmental and spiritual events. But all people do not wake up in the same way as they have different habits. It has been known that after waking up, the first thing a majority of people does is switching on their radios, TVs, cellular phones, PCs and other devices. Thus, they begin the day from the interaction with media.
Media plays an important role in the lives of people. But computer games, the use of the Internet, cellular phones, and television may have a negative influence on our life and health, healthy sleep in particular. The use of media is able to displace the time of sleep or make it shorter. Sometimes it may lead to overexcitement, the state of nervousness, or cause nightmares, which, in its turn, influences the way we wake up (Van den Bulck, 2010).
The quick growth of mass media and the interaction with it caused great interest of the public and media critics in the question about the effects of media on individuals and the society in general. It has been suggested that the best way to control the media impact is to become aware of media literacy which may be defined as media understanding, awareness of their operating, the messages they deliver, their role in the society, the way people respond to the media messages, etc.
Sometimes I wake up, nag a little in bed, and then fall asleep again. It usually happens on the weekends when I do not have to get up early in the morning and have enough time to lie in bed and do nothing. After spending about an hour in bed, I switch on the TV, a player or a radio. I usually enjoy listening to some calm music or watching a serial or any program. Then I switch on my laptop and surf the Internet. I may spend hours speaking over the phone, searching some information on the Internet, reading my favorite newspapers and magazines. At this time I feel completely deepened into the media world. I would say that I am a media literate person as I understand the messages and the so codes the media convey. I am also able to interpret objects, symbols and visible actions of the media. Media literacy gives people opportunity to be creative producers and critical thinkers exchanging the messages using language, sounds, and images. It is the way we understand the media, examine the technologies and techniques of media production, and the way we analyze media messages (Shepherd, 1993). My life seems to change at the weekends.
But during the weekdays my interaction with media has quite the other character. When I wake up, I open my eyes, move a bit, then make purposeful movements and switch off my alarm clock (it goes off only during the weekdays). When I am fully awake, I am ready to be practical and active during the whole day. I try not to think about the way I slept, I mean whether I woke up at night, had a short sleep, has horror dreams etc. Such things never influence the way I begin a day and interact with media during the day. After awakening, I feel like all my brain functions slowly return to me. The change from the state of being asleep to wakefulness is not as critical and difficult as during the weekdays, and of course, it changes the way I perceive the environment.
During the weekdays, as I have already mentioned, the way I wake up and the way I begin the day, including the interaction with media, is completely different. At this time, I may be easily called an early bird. I like to get up early in the morning in order to do all necessary things and preparations and to be on time. I do not force myself out of bed, but the music does. Immediately after switching off the alarm, I switch on my payer or radio and start listening to my favorite dance music or any other kind of music that gives energy and desire to live and move. It lets me get out of bed to move, dance, and start the day fresh and happy. Radio, or music to be exact, is thought to be a string global entity. It has been made all over the world and with different purposes. Music has the ability to influence people’s mood, lifestyle and view on life. Music always makes a positive influence on me and makes me move, interact and communicate.
Some time ago, I usually woke up groggy and completely disorganized. Even after having a 9-hour sleep, I could hardly wake up. In case I had to get up early, the day was spoilt. One day I decided that it could not continue the same way and something should have been changed about my habit of waking up. I spent hours and days reading a variety of books which could help me to change the way I woke up and interacted with the environment. I did not like neither media and radio nor cellular phone. Nothing could raise my mood early in the morning. Luckily, everything has changed nowadays. I have completely reconsidered the way of my waking up and have started a new life. I have completely changed my morning routine, and it has made me eager to get out of bed. I think that the only thing that helps me be an early bird is media. Media may keep people alert in the morning, which is considered to be a good habit to develop.
In order to change the way of waking up and perception the world, media is the best solution. Media literacy is the key element in this situation. It incorporates three continuum stages which lead to the media empowerment. They are: awareness of the importance of managing or balancing media in the way of making choices and deciding on the amount of time you spend surfing the Internet, watching TV, playing electronic games, using the phone and others; learning specific critical viewing skills; exploring the issues like media production, media purpose, profits and benefits. The last stage includes economic, political and social analysis of the experience and outlooks we take from the media (Thomas, 1995). There are four dimensions of media literacy, among which is emotional (triggers of emotional responses), cognitive (production and symbols of messages), moral (inference of messages value), and aesthetic (appreciating and understanding the media creator craft).
Thus, nowadays, the change of state from asleep to wakefulness is not as painful for me as it was several years ago. It does not affect the way I interact with the media as I have developed habits which are followed every morning. The only thing I have understood is that the media help me stay fit and full of energy during the whole day. Interaction with media is a kind of remedy from the early wake up.