What do you mean by sleep? Well, for a long time, sleep was simply believed to be a period of relaxation. In 1953, some scientists discovered that sleep is actually a complex process. It is actually important for several mental processes including learning and memory. REM is a sleep stage that is characterized by intense eye movements and is usually associated with dreaming. It has been observed that an average person experiences four to six REM episodes during a normal night.
In this post, we will discuss in detail all about REM sleep, its importance to the human body and how you can increase REM sleep. Let’s find out the details.
What Is REM Sleep?
It is often described as the most active stage of sleep and is associated with dreaming. In this stage, brain activity consists of faster waves along with rapid eye movements behind closed eyelids. Most of the muscles become temporarily paralyzed during REM sleep to prevent any sort of harm from acting out dreams. However, people still display occasional muscle twitches while having REM sleep. Other things that you might witness are breathing quickens, heart rate increases, and a person might wake up relatively alert. Usually, the period of REM sleep occurs around 90 minutes intervals throughout the night.
Why Is REM Sleep Important?
Several studies have revealed that REM sleep plays a crucial part in memory consolidation and further helps in maintaining and preparing neural connections to enhance future learning. It is also said that reaching the REM sleep stage fosters improvements in working memory. In short, REM plays a vital role in brain development as the person experiences muscle twitches that help in motor learning. Not just that, REM also contributes to creativity and emotional processing.
Dreams during REM sleep are unusual and vivid. Many researchers claim that REM sleep helps people in recovering from stressful events and obtaining an extensive amount of REM sleep after encountering a traumatic event might further reduce the chances of having post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s not all, REM sleep also affects physical health and protects people against obesity.
How Much REM Sleep Do You Need?
Well, adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night. So, REM sleep should make up around 20-25% of total sleep. If you compromise your sleep cycle then you might not witness significant effects of REM sleep but after having 12 to 24 hours of sleep deprivation, people usually experience a REM rebound effects when they sleep. This means increasing the REM sleep to make up for the missed REM sleep previously.
How To Increase REM Sleep?
The truth is that REM sleep occurs usually during the second half of the sleep period, so this means that sleeping for a short period will not allow enough time to complete the REM sleep cycle. So, below are a few recommendations that can help you in obtaining more REM sleep while ensuring you get a sufficient amount of quality and quantity of sleep.
Fix Sleep Disorders
It is important to see if the alterations in REM sleep are due to some disruption caused by a sleep disorder, then treating the disorder can prompt a return to normal proportions of REM sleep. For instance, several studies revealed that after treating sleep apnea with CPAP therapy, many people experience REM rebound sleep which helps in providing higher-quality sleep and a better mood overall.
Start and Maintain A Sleep Schedule
Well, having a proper sleep schedule is quintessential. The longer period of REM sleep tends to align with the dip in body temperature that usually occurs in the early morning time and is regulated by the circadian rhythm. So, disrupting the balance of irregular sleep-wake times will confuse your body and further interfere with REM sleep regulation. However, maintaining a healthy sleep cycle will fix the problem and help you obtain more REM sleep.
Say No To Sleep Aids
Certain antipsychotic and antidepressant medications might suppress your REM sleep. Many people continue taking such medications as they believe that the benefits are more than the drawbacks but the fact is that if the lack of REM sleep is affecting the quality of your life, then you must consult your doctor to lower your dose or switch to some other medication. Above all, you should also avoid intake of alcohol and tobacco as it can also affect your REM sleep.
Buy CPAP Machine To Get Better REM Sleep
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