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What is REM Sleep?


It is no secret that getting a great night's sleep is crucial for your overall health and wellness. But do we really understand what exactly happens while we are sleeping? Let's learn a little bit about the stages of sleep and why REM (rapid eye movement) is essential for your health.

REM sleep is one of the four stages of sleep that your body cycles through each night. During REM sleep, your eyes move rapidly behind your eyelids, your heart rate increases, and your breathing becomes irregular. Your brain is highly active during REM sleep, similar to your awake hours. This part of your sleep cycle is associated with dreaming and memory consolidation. In addition, during REM sleep, you experience a temporary loss of muscle tone.

Why is REM Sleep So Important?

While sleeping, your body is doing a lot of work during REM sleep:

  1. Your brain processes emotions during REM sleep. Your amygdala, the part of the brain that processes emotions, activates during this period. Some believe that emotional processing makes your dreams more vivid in the REM part of your sleep cycle.

  2. REM sleep promotes brain development by making meaningful neural connections while you rest, which explains why newborn babies spend so much time sleeping!

  3. Your body activates your central nervous system during REM sleep, preparing you to wake up. This preparation helps you to feel awake and alert after your slumber.

What are the Other Stages of Sleep?

Your REM sleep cycle does not start until 60 to 90 minutes after you first fall asleep. After that, your body goes through three other stages of non-REM sleep before you get to the all-important REM sleep stage.

  • Stage 1 (Light Sleep): Your brain slows as you become drowsy. The body maintains some muscle tone, and your breathing becomes regular.

  • Stage 2 (Light Sleep): In this stage, you begin to transition toward deep sleep as your heart rate and body temperature decrease. A pattern of brain waves specific to sleep called sleep spindles and K-complexes start as you head toward stage 3.

  • Stage 3 (Deep Sleep): The brain waves at this point are the slowest of the night. If you are roused from sleep during this stage, you experience extreme fogginess. In this stage, your body is repairing itself, boosting your immune system, and restoring your bones, tissue, and muscles.

The body cycles through the three non-REM sleep stages and the REM sleep stage multiple times in one night. Each cycle lasts about 90-120 minutes, and you spend more time in REM sleep with each cycle.

How Much REM Sleep Do You Need?

As you might expect, infants and children need the most REM sleep while their brains are still developing. Adults average about two hours of REM sleep each night.

How Can I Maximize My REM Sleep?

Good sleep habits will ensure your body has a chance to cycle properly through all four stages of sleep and spend plenty of time in the REM sleep Stages. Follow these simple sleep tips to ensure a restful night's sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule.

  • Create a restful environment.

  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.

  • Pay attention to what you eat and drink.

  • Manage Anxiety.

  • Get a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow.

When the time is right to shop for a mattress that will meet all your needs, shop at a reputable mattress factory with many years of experience. Ensure you get the best night's sleep possible by consulting with a mattress factory committed to customer satisfaction.

Pittsburgh Mattress Factory has been making custom mattresses for over 50 years. Customers rely on their experience producing high-quality mattresses for a good night's sleep. So, buy with confidence, knowing your custom mattress will be designed just for your needs at a factory-direct price.

Contact Pittsburgh Mattress at (941) 729-7604 or visit our mattress factory at 2424 US Highway 301 in Ellenton to see how we build each mattress.

 

Sources:

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/stages-of-sleep/rem-sleep