Rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep is the most beneficial and important stage of our sleep cycle. REM is just one of five stages of sleep and ideally takes place after 90 minutes of sleeping for an hour. The REM sleep cycle is a recurring stage that occurs five to six times a night. Sleep is, in fact, one of the most influential aspects of our health. Keep reading for the truth about REM sleep.
REM sleep is significantly different than the other four stages of sleep. During REM, a person will experience rapid eye movement, dreaming, and restoration of the mind. The brain is so active during this stage that it is also known as paradoxical sleep. Some scientists believe the brain is even more active during REM than when we’re awake. Interestingly enough, while our eyes and brain are moving and working so rapidly, our muscles are so inactive that they are almost in a state of paralysis.
Researchers have been perplexed for decades wondering why our eyes move so rapidly during REM sleep. The quick back and forth motion has resulted in a scientific phenomenon. One study concluded that our brain is flickering back and forth capturing snapshots of dreams and mental images.
During REM sleep, our brain processes our memory, creative problem-solving skills, and motor skills. Our ability to remember long term comes from the REM sleep cycle. Also, researchers believe that REM encodes our procedural memory, which inhibits our ability to do things.
REM sleep is vital to our health because it is the restoration period of our sleep cycle. Researchers still aren’t sure why our bodies require REM sleep or why dream activity seems o be so critical to brain health. However, scientists have hypothesized that the brain uses dreams to process emotions, information, memories, and stress.
Proper REM sleep leaves the body and mind feeling refreshed and energized. The REM stage is the last stage in our sleep cycle before the cycle repeats itself. Therefore, when our sleep is interrupted, we’re left feeling groggy and unsatisfied. Not enough sleep can have many negative effects on the human body:
REM rebound occurs when a person who has had interrupted REM sleep or is sleep deprived, falls asleep uninterrupted. The brain quickly enters into REM and stays in this stage for at least 20% longer than the average person. REM rebound is basically the body making up for lost REM sleep.
If you are having difficulty sleeping or find yourself tossing and turning all night, don’t let it go on any longer. Purchase a mattress and get your very own sleep coach. REM sleep and all sleep stages play an important role on your health and it’s time you get a better nights sleep.