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Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleeping Pattern and its benefits

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   6 min     



The psychology of sleep is gaining more consideration than ever before. A healthful and comprehensive life is co-related to a long and uninterrupted sleep every day. However, scrutinising sleep has always been a puzzle to modern science.  

While the conventional means of research and public feedback was reflected inadequate, the latest Polysomnogram and ECG machines have found more extensive application at the sleep study. 

According to the latest research, sleep can be sustained at different levels. Amongst the varied stages of sleep, the deepest stage is REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. 

A body enters REM sleep within the first 90 minutes of going asleep and, as the sleep period revolves throughout the night, REM sleep occurs multiple times. It estimates for nearly 20-25% of an adult’s sleep cycle, and above 50% of an infant’s. 

REM sleep

The REM is shortened as “Rapid EYE Movement” as, during this stage, the eyes move quickly and randomly, and you begin to dream, that is usually forgotten after you wake-up.  

While in REM sleep, the body and brain go through numerous transitions, including:

  • The fast movement of the eyes

  • Alterations in body temperature

  • Active and irregular inhaling

  • Raised heart rate

  • Raised blood pressure

  • Brain liveliness related to that detected while waking

  • Sexual arousal in both men and women

  • Progressed oxygen consumption by the brain

  • Jerking of the face and limbs 

In most of the people, muscle weakness or the lack of muscle activity (known as atonia) is seen as the brain indicates the spinal cord to cease the motion of the arms and legs. It may be a preventive mechanism to avert injury caused by acting out our dreams.  

REM sleeping is regarded as the healthiest and most reviving among the different levels of sleep. During this condition, the eyes move briskly in multiple directions. Maximum dreams occur in REM sleep, and it is believed to play a role in memory, learning and feelings. The other four phases are directed to non-REM (NREM) sleep. 

Non-REM sleep

Before beginning the REM sleep state, the body goes into each of the phases of non-REM sleep. Each level of NREM continues for 5-15 minutes.

  • Stage 1 NREM sleep – Between being awake and asleep or in a very light sleep.

  • Stage 2 NREM sleep – Slightly deeper sleep where body temperature falls and heart rate becomes slower.

  • Stages 3 & 4 NREM sleep – Deep and recuperative sleep (slow-wave sleep, or delta sleep). The body muscles unwind, the blood supply to the muscles raises, and the body restores and builds tissue. The body releases hormones and energy repositories are replenished.

The people tend to get less non-REM sleep as they grow older. Below 30 years of age people undergo 2 hours of healthful sleep at night while older ones may receive just 30 minutes. 

What is the importance of REM Sleep?

REM is the sleeping phase wherein the body begins fully reclining and renewing itself. REM sleep is also vital for the nervous system to repair itself. Meantime, at the REM stage, the physical activity (including heartbeat and respiratory functions) proceeds below the standard levels, indicating a lower level of the daily corporal activities. 

It may be particularly crucial for brain development in babies. It intimates that this sleep stage is liable for the neural stimulation, which is necessary to acquire mature neural connections. While the REM sleep cycle is undoubtedly crucial, the modern lifestyle makes it challenging to accomplish. 

What are the consequences of a lack of REM sleep?

A shortage of REM sleep may have unfavourable associations for physical and emotional health. It can be associated with:

  • Obesity or overweight – According to a study, short sleep periods and subtracted REM sleep is linked with excessive weight in children and teenagers.

  • Migraines – A lack of enough REM sleep (REM sleep behaviour disorder) has been co-related to migraines.

  • Decreased coping ability– Research shows that animals who are stripped of REM sleep display irregularities in coping mechanisms and preventive responses in alarming situations. 

How to Improve REM Sleep?

Sustain a healthy Sleep Cycle

Ever admired how the birds have such a proper sleeping cycle. The enigma lies at a sleeping timer, kept at a particular division of the brain. 

The brain has a natural sleeping cycle timer, regularly managing the sleep-log. A healthy physiological clock indicates you to fall asleep at the right time and leads you through the whole sleeping night.  

Exercise awaking at the Right Time

If you repeat falling asleep at the right time, you can also prepare waking-up at the right time. Preferably, you should wake-up after the completion of a sleep cycle. 

Each REM cycle or sleep cycle remains for about 70-90 minutes. According to this principle, possessing a six and half hours of sleep implies that you are exercising four full sleep cycles. At the same time, owning a seven-hour sleep indicates that you are waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle, which could initiate you to feel tired and sluggish. 

Drink proper amount of Water before Sleeping

Dehydration is a common cause for waking-up from a healthy sleep cycle. Always assure that you drink a glass of water before you go to sleep. However, if you drink too much water, it could also be a cause of wake-up from sleep.  

Practice Regular Physical Exercises

Having a healthy mind is vital for healthy sleep. As sleeping is actually an activity of your brain, regular exercises can build a more reliable cardiovascular system and brain. Additionally, working out in the first part of the day assures that your heart rate isn’t raised right before you go to sleep. 

Also, there are lots of health benefits of exercises including strengthening muscle fibre, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Definitely, REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD).  

Check the Light and Temperature of your Room

For a night of deep sleep, having a rigidly regulated light and the temperature is critically essential. Notably, in a city environment, your bedroom could be consistently exposed to stray lights and noises. Pulling your curtains or applying ear-buds may be very useful for keeping a controlled ambience in your rooms.  

Aware of your Food Intakes

Always support a strict awareness of all your food products. Having spicy food or sipping a cup of coffee in the last five hours of your sleep is linked with the symptoms of sleep apnea. If you are discovering yourself repeatedly in the middle of the disrupted sleeping pattern, lower down on your coffee consumption. 

NOTE: These are the elemental steps that serve you to deliver more thorough and stimulating sleep. The constant sleep loss could indicate a more in-depth medical dilemma and demands the consideration of a medical practitioner. 

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Tags:  getting more rem sleep, how to get rem sleep, how to get rem sleep naturally, not getting rem sleep, water, Sleeping Disorders, Ophthalmology, Stress, Physical Activities

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