Getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation for adults to maintain good health.
Even though we tend to view sleep as one solid activity, our bodies actually cycle between four stages of sleep during a typical sleep cycle N1, N2, N3, and rapid eye movement REM sleep with each individually playing a crucial role in helping us function optimally.
REM sleep is crucial to your body and brain. Here’s what you need to know.
How Does REM Sleep Work?
As its name suggests, REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements from side to side while asleep. Among the four stages of sleep, it is the least restful, but the most physically strenuous. We typically begin experiencing them about 90 minutes after we have fallen asleep, and their duration and duration increase with each period.
REM sleep is when most dreams occur. Your blood pressure and heart rate rise nearly as much as when you are awake, and you become paralyzed in your arms and legs, so you are unable to effectively act out your dreams.
How Does Non-REM Sleep Work?
REM sleep eventually follows non-REM sleep, which has three stages in succession.
In non-REM stage I (N1), we pass from a state of wakefulness to sleep after a short period of time. At this time, you may experience twitching of your muscles and be easily stirred from your sleep.
Non-REM Stage 2 (N2): We spend about half of our sleep time in stage two. Our heart rate slows down during this stage, and we lose consciousness of our surroundings. The sleep spindles we experience at this time are also an important part of memory consolidation.
Stage 3 (N3) of the non-REM sleep cycle is “slow-wave sleep”, or deep sleep that makes us feel refreshed the next morning. As the deepest sleep of the stages of sleep, it begins after approximately 40 minutes of falling asleep.
What Is the Recommended Amount of REM Sleep?
In addition to keeping the brain in shape, REM sleep is essential for building and storing long-term memories.
Is REM sleep sufficient for a healthy body?
For adults, a quarter to 25 percent of their sleep time may be spent sleeping. In a typical 7- to 8-hour sleep cycle, you’ll get 90 minutes of REM sleep each night.
Infants should spend 50% of their time in Recommended REM sleep, and adults should spend 20% to 25%.
A person’s body fat percentage decreases with age.
Is Your REM Sleep Enough?
Wearers of the devices can estimate the amount of time they spend in each stage of sleep in part using motion, body temperature, and heart rate inputs.
You can also download apps for these devices to see what stage you were in during the night and how long you spent in each stage. Their presentation of this is often helpful for visualizing the cycle of sleep during the night.
REM sleep and dreaming – how to get more of it?
A change in your sleeping habits overall can improve your REM sleep quality and quantity, though there isn’t one method to get more REM sleep.
As an important step towards achieving sleep consistency, you should strive to get to bed and rise at the same time each day.
As well as avoiding alcohol before bedtime, it is recommended to avoid caffeine before sleeping, as it makes your body work extra hard to process it, preventing you from falling asleep or interrupting the normal sleep cycle.
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