Creature sleeps

Creature sleeps | IELTS Academic Reading Sample Question

The passage contains the following question types from IELTS Reading Question Types:

  • Matching headings,
  • Matching information,
  • Multiple Choice Question

Creature Sleeps

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based on Reading Passage.

A. Almost every living creature sleeps. For humans, it is typically something we dislike doing when we are younger and, as we age, something we increasingly look forward to at the end of each day. On the one hand, it is something that we absolutely need to sustain our life and on the other, we tend to feel guilty if we spend more time in bed than we should. Sleep researcher Professor Stanley Limpton believes that 7 hours – the average amount of sleep most people get per night – is not enough. Limpton points out that the average person is now getting 2 hours less sleep than those who lived 100 years ago and contends that this lack of sleep is one of the main reasons so many people are often clumsy, unhappy, irritable and agitated. Other scientists share Limpton’s thinking. Many other researchers feel that we are not getting enough sleep and the negative impacts are being regularly felt around the world in the workplace and in the home.

B. The first experiments in recorded scientific history on the effects of people not getting enough sleep took place in the late 1800s. According to records, three volunteers were deprived of sleep for a total of 90 hours. Later on, in 1920 more experiments in sleep deprivation were conducted by scientists where several people were deprived of sleep for a period of 60 hours. The results of many sleep deprivation experiments have been recorded and conducted by American ‘sleep scientist’ Nathaniel Kleitman. Often referred to as ‘the father of modern sleep research’, Kleitman’s work has formed the foundation for many areas of current sleep research. In one experiment, Kleitman examined thirty five volunteers who had been awake for 60 hours and also conducted an experiment on himself, remaining awake for a total of 100 hours. It was revealed that people who are sleep-deprived for periods of more than 60 hours try to fall asleep in any environment and show- signs of mental disturbances, visions and hallucinations. As the length of sleep deprivation increases, so too does the mental decline in an individual. Having studied a group of 3 sleep deprived people, sleep researcher Dr. Tim Oswald, concluded that chronic sleep deprivation often leads to drastic consequences. Oswald’s experiments reinstated the necessity of sleep for proper human functioning.

C. Studies of sleep patterns in some of the more remote areas of the world have also been a subject of interest amongst sleep researchers. It is well-known that during the summer months in both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles the phenomenon known as the midnight sun occurs. Given fair weather conditions, the sun is visible for a continuous 24 hours. One summer, Dr. Peter Suedfeld traveled to the Arctic and conducted a series of research projects. All participants were required to get rid of all clocks, watches and any other timekeeping devices and conduct work and sleep according to their own ‘body dock’. Those involved in the experiment were required to note down when they- had a nap and when they actually went to bed. The results were that most people slept around 10 hours per day and all participants reported feeling completely invigorated and refreshed.

D. The affect of sleep interruptions have also been a focal point of some sleep research. In urban societies, traffic and aircraft noise are often referred to as ‘the bane of urban existence’. Tom Grimstead took people who were classified as ‘good sleepers’ from quiet neighbourhoods and introduced into their bedrooms and night the noise equivalents of a major urban road. An actimeter – a device which measures the amount of movement in sleep – was used to gauge the quality of the participant’s sleep. The participants emerged from the experiment in a depressed-like state after four days. Grimstead reported that participants had depression and mood scores similar to people with clinical depression…a reduction in certain performance tasks was also noted’.

E. Another area of interest in the field of sleep study involves such famous people as Thomas Edison and Winston Churchill who, reportedly, were known to be and have been classified as short sleepers. A short sleeper is one who claims to be able to get by with only 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night. Dr David Joske. secretary’ of the British Sleep Association believes that ‘genetically short sleepers may have some natural resistance to the effects of sleep deprivation but it is not entirely certain why some people seem to require more and others less՝. Determining what makes up the differences between short and long sleepers has been difficult for researchers. Says Joske, ‘When we brought long and short sleepers into controlled environments which were dark and soundproof we found that all participants slept between nine and ten hours, which seemed to preclude the short sleeper category.’

F. A study in Norway was undertaken on a number of bus drivers. They were hooked up to various computers which monitored their states of being awake. The study revealed that bus drivers were asleep for as much as 25% of the time they were driving the bus. What the drivers w ere having was a series of ‘micro-­sleeps’ – short periods of time of 10 to 20 seconds where they would be classified as being asleep. In the micro-sleep state, the individual may appear awake, even with their eyes open but in fact they are actually sleeping.

Questions 1-5

Reading Passage has 6 paragraphs, A-F.
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-ix in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i. Research into short periods of sleep
ii. Famous people, short sleepers
iii. Measuring sleep movement
iv. Sleep experiments over the past century
v. Monitoring the effects of sleep deprivation
vi. Antarctic and Arctic sleep means quality sleep
vii. Challenging research in reduced normal sleeping hours
viii. Are we getting enough sleep?
ix. The impact of noise on sleep
x. Sleep experiments in an isolated area

Example: Paragraph A; Answer: viii

1)       Paragraph B
2)       Paragraph C
3)       Paragraph D
4)       Paragraph E
5)       Paragraph F

Questions 5 – 10

Look at the following list of statements (Questions 5-10) and the list of people below.
Match each statement with the correct company.
Write the correct letter A-D in boxes 5-10 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once. 

6)       People need to increase their average amount of sleep.
7)       Extended periods of no sleep causes serious health problems.
8)       Some need more sleep and others seem to get by with less sleep.
9)       The quality of sleep can be measured by an individual’s sleep activity.
10)       Most people need to sleep the same number of hours.

List of Researchers

A.         David Joske
B.         Stanley Limpton
C.         Tim Oswald
D.         Tom Grimstead

Questions 11 and 12

Choose TWO letters A-F.
Write your answers in boxes 11 and 12 on your answer sheet.
The list below lists some health issues associated with lack of sleep.
 Which TWO of these health issues are mentioned by the writer?

A. heart problems
B. nervous disorders
C. dizziness
D. depression
E. problems with mental state
F. increased blood pressure

Question 13

Choose the correct letter, A-E
Write the correct letter in box 26 on your answer sheet.

13) Which of the following is the most suitable title for Reading Passage 2?
A. The importance of sleep
B. Studies in sleep
C. How much sleep we need
D. The effect of sleep patterns
E. Modern perspectives on sleep

Answers for IELTS Reading Sample Question

1) v
Paragraph B states, ‘The first experiments in recorded scientific history on the effects of people not getting enough sleep took place in the late 1800s…’, ‘…three volunteers were deprived of sleep for a total of 90 hours…’, ‘…in 1920 more experiments in sleep deprivation were conducted – the topic of research into sleep deprivation is established.
Several examples of the effects of sleep deprivation upon the body, ՛… people who are sleep deprived for periods of more than 60 hours try to fall asleep in any environment and show signs of mental disturbances, visions and hallucinations. As the length of sleep deprivation increases, so too does the mental decline in an individual. ‘All these examples have been recorded after monitoring the effects of sleep deprivation.

2) x
Paragraph C is primarily reporting on sleep experiments in isolated areas. The first sentence talks about, ‘Studies of sleep patterns in…remote areas of the world…’ The passage describes the process of the experiments, ‘All participants were required to get rid of all clocks, watches…’ and talks about the outcome of the experiments, ‘…most people slept around 10 hours per day and all participants reported feeling completely invigorated and refreshed.
Note: although there is reference to the Antarctic, it is not even the location of the experiments.

3) ix
Paragraph D discusses ‘sleep interruptions’ such as ‘traffic and aircraft noise’ in urban areas. It points to the results of a study in which the participants were exposed to the loud noise ‘of a major urban road’ namely, ‘participants had depression and mood scores similar to people with clinical depression., .a reduction in certain performance tasks was also noted’.

4) vii
Paragraph E discusses in sentences 1 & 2 people ‘who reportedly’, ‘who claim’ and who ‘may’ be short sleepers. These words indicate that it’s a challenge to define who are ‘short sleepers’ (i.e. those who have reduced sleeping hours)

5) i
Paragraph F deals with a study in Norway which monitored the states of being awake in bus drivers. It reveals that ‘the drivers were having a series of micro-sleeps – short periods of time… where they are classified as being asleep.

6) B
In Paragraph A, Limpton states: ‘…the average amount of sleep most people get per night – is not enough.’

7) C
In Paragraph B, Oswald states: ‘…chronic sleep deprivation often leads to drastic consequences.’

8) A
In Paragraph E, Joske states that ‘…genetically short sleepers may have some natural resistance to the effects of sleep deprivation but it is not entirely certain why some people seem to require more and others less’, (i.e. although he does not know why exactly, he believes that some need more and others less sleep).

9) D
In Paragraph D, Tom Grimstead used ‘…an actimeter – a device which measures the amount of movement in sleep – was used to gauge the quality of the participant’s sleep.’

10) A
In Paragraph E Joske says, ‘When we brought long and short sleepers into controlled environments… we found that all participants slept between nine and ten hours…’

11) D
In paragraph D, Grimstead reported that participants emerged in a ‘depressed-like state’ after four days of sleep interruptions.

12) E
In paragraph B, Kleitman reported, ‘…signs of mental disturbances, visions and hallucinations.’

13) B
The majority of the passage cites examples of studies – the first experiments, sleep patterns, sleep interruptions.
A and C are wrong because not all of the studies deal with the importance of sleep nor how much sleep we need.
D is wrong because only one paragraph deals with sleep patterns – a small part of the passage..
E is not correct because while there are some up-to-date perspectives, some are dating back to the 1920s.

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