As your sleep lab specialist will tell you, at the heart of a good night’s sleep is rapid eye movement sleep. To learn more about this important stage of sleep and how it helps your body and brain recharge, keep reading.
What Is REM Sleep?
A normal sleep cycle consists of five stages of sleep, the last of which is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Beginning anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep, REM is the stage of sleep during which dreams occur, as your brain experiences increased activity and your eyes move rapidly back and forth beneath your eyelids. REM sleep is also characterized by the relaxation and paralysis of your voluntary muscles, such as those in your arms and legs, to keep you from acting out your dreams while your involuntary muscles, such as your heart and lungs, remain active. In some REM sleep disorders, muscle paralysis either does not happen or remains for a short time after you wake up.
Why Is REM Sleep Important?
Many experts believe that through dreams, your brain is able to organize and catalog your daily experiences, refreshing and renewing itself for the day ahead. This helps you process new information by comparing it with reference points, such as childhood or early adult memories, and is also thought to essentially create more room for improved memory the next day. Additionally, in order to feel properly rested, your body needs to go through the full five cycles of sleep, including REM sleep, as many times as possible. Non-REM sleep is also beneficial, but without the REM stage, your sleep cycle is not fully complete and you will feel more tired and unfocused in the morning.
Failure to reach REM sleep or acting out your dreams is a common symptom of sleep disorders. Visit Comfort Sleep today for diagnosis and treatment of your sleeping difficulties in order to achieve the healthy and full night’s rest you need. For more information, visit us on the web or call (732) 455-3030.