REM is a stage of sleep. It stands for Rapid Eye Movement and it is the stage where our brain is equally as active as it is while we are awake.
Although we are in a sleep state, during this stage of sleep our eyes will be darting around beneath our eyelids and our brains will be very active.
This article will look at the details of REM sleep so read on for more information!
What Is REM Sleep?
While we are sleeping we will experience lots of different stages of sleep. This consists of four stages of NREM sleep. This stands for non rapid eye movement.
We will then experience REM sleep. This is essential for our health, as are all of the different stages of sleep.
REM sleep usually occurs at the end of each sleep cycle, and each sleep cycle usually lasts around 90 to 120 minutes. This means that every 120 minutes, we will experience rapid eye movement.
During the night, after 90 minutes of sleep, we will commonly experience our first rapid eye movement phase. This will last for around 10 minutes.
With every cycle of sleep that we experience, the amount of time spent on REM sleep will increase and by the end of the night, it is likely that we will experience up to an hour of REM time.
During REM sleep you are much more likely to experience dreams as there is an increase in brain activity during this time. This brain activity usually leads to dreams (see also ‘Can You Cry In Your Sleep?‘). When we remember our dreams clearly, it is usually because we wake up during REM sleep.
Can Our Bodies Move During REM Sleep?
During the active stage of sleep known as REM sleep, our body is in a state known as atonia.
This is a state of paralysis where our brains are sending signals to our spinal cord which limits the amount of movement our legs and arms can make. This is to ensure that we don’t make the same movements that are occurring in our dreams.
Due to the paralysis that occurs, REM sleep is often referred to as paradoxical sleep. This is because of the contrast that occurs between our minds and our bodies during this time.
How Many Sleep Cycles Do You Need?
It is important for every adult to get four or five sleep cycles each night. This adds up to around 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night.
If you do not get this number of sleep cycles you are likely to experience sleep deprivation. The symptoms of this include daytime drowsiness and lacking concentration. This will likely have an impact on our productivity the following day.
What Are The Stages Of REM Sleep?
During rapid eye movement sleep stages, our bodies will experience a lot of different changes. These include things like rapid breathing, rapid heart rate and high blood pressure, changes in body temperature, twitches and fluttering eyelids.
What Are The Other Stages Of Sleep?
There are four stages of sleep, and the final stage is REM. The first two stages of sleep are fairly light and the third stage is the deepest sleep. Each stage is very important, so let’s have a look at these stages below.
The first stage is the stage where we initially fall asleep. This only lasts five minutes, and it indicates that we have fallen asleep. This stage occurs at the very beginning, and it can occur a couple more times in the night if we wake up throughout the night.
The second stage of sleep indicates that our bodies have started to relax. During this stage of sleep, both our heart rate and breathing will slow down. This is also a very light stage of sleep and it makes up most of the time that we are asleep throughout the night.
If you are waking someone up, this is the best stage of sleep to do so. This is because during this stage of sleep we are much more likely to feel refreshed than during deep sleep.
Stage three is the deepest stage of sleep. It occurs when we are most relaxed and our body uses this stage of sleep to heal. If you have any cuts or bruises, this is when our bodies will work on healing them. It is quite difficult to wake someone up during this stage of sleep.
This stage of sleep is very vital to our mind and body, but you will spend less time in this stage during each sleep cycle.
Why Is REM Sleep Important?
There are lots of reasons that REM sleep is important. These include:
Helps You Learn
Having enough REM sleep increases our ability to learn. It also plays a big part in our memory. REM sleep is essential to the cognitive function of our brains, and it improves our creativity.
Helps With Brain Development
REM sleep develops our brain. Our brains are constantly growing and developing, and they are producing new neurons every day. REM sleep aids the development of our brains which is essential. This is why children and babies spend a lot more time in REM sleep than others.
Helps Us Process Emotions
It is normal for us to go to sleep after an emotional day, and wake up feeling better. This is because, during REM sleep, our brain shuts down the chemistry that is causing you stress. This helps us to process our emotions.
Helps Us Maintain A Healthy Weight
Having an inadequate amount of REM sleep leads to an increase in appetite. This often means that you will gain weight in the long run.
REM sleep, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement, is very important for our bodies. There are four stages of sleep and each is essential for our health and well-being. There are many reasons why REM is essential for our health, and these are explored above.
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