When you sleep, your brain goes through two phases. One is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and the other is called non-rapid eye movement (Non-REM) sleep. Your brain will go through REM and non-REM sleep several times each night. Here’s what sleep specialists say you should know about these two sleep cycles.
What is REM sleep?
REM sleep begins about 90 minutes after falling asleep. It lengthens as the night progresses. REM sleep has these characteristics.
- Your body and brain are stimulated.
- Your breathing becomes irregular and faster.
- You dream because your brain is more active.
- Your eyes will move from side to side.
- The body relaxes and becomes immobile, so you do not represent your dreams.
- His body temperature drops slightly.
Different regions of your signals receive when REM sleep begins. The cerebral cortex of your brain allows you to learn, think, and organize thoughts. The signals go to the spinal cord to slow down movements, so the muscles in the arms and legs cause temporary paralysis, so that it does not move. During REM sleep, you store memories, learn, and moods are balanced. REM sleep generally occurs at intervals throughout the night.
Usually every 90 to 120 minutes, you go in and out of REM sleep. You dream during REM sleep, but it can sometimes happen during Non-REM sleep. As you get older, you have less REM sleep.
What is non-REM sleep?
There are three stages of non-REM sleep, according to the Cleveland Clinic team. Here is a breakdown of each stage.
- Stage 1: In this stage, you are between being awake and beginning to fall asleep. The breathing and heartbeat slow down and the muscles begin to relax. This stage usually lasts 5 to 15 minutes.
- Stage 2: In stage two, you are a light sleeper. Brain waves begin to decrease and body temperature drops. This stage lasts between 10 and 25 minutes.
- Stage 3: During stage 3, you are in your deepest and most restful sleep. At this point, the heartbeat and breathing are very slow. Your muscles are completely relaxed. Then your body begins to repair tissue and sends blood to your muscles. Your energy is renewed. Your body also releases hormones. When you wake up during this phase, you will feel disoriented for several minutes until you are fully awake.
How much do you need to sleep?
Your sleep patterns change as you age. Babies need 16 to 18 hours of sleep per day for good growth and development. Primary school children need 91/2 hours of sleep. Studies show that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. After age 60, you tend to sleep less with lighter and more interrupted sleep at night. The idea that you can regain sleep on the weekends is a fallacy because you can’t really catch up if you’re not sleeping on weeknights.
What if you don’t get enough REM and Non-REM sleep?
Sleep studies show that REM sleep is important for your functioning during the day, especially for learning, memory, or learning a new skill. REM sleep also improves your ability to solve problems. Lack of REM sleep can affect your mood. Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you are not getting a good night’s sleep, chances are you are not sleeping REM. In addition to mood disorders, lack of adequate sleep can cause other physical problems such as
- Cardiovascular problems
- Metabolism problems
If you don’t sleep well, chances are you’re not getting enough REM sleep. Certain things affect your ability to sleep well, including the following habits:
- Thyroid medications
- Lack of physical exercise
How can you get more REM sleep?
There is no question that you need an adequate amount of sleep and specifically REM sleep. Several things can interrupt your sleep, but what can you do to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and REM sleep? Here are specific suggestions for getting a deeper sleep so that you can easily move into REM sleep stages so you can get better sleep overall.
1 – Exercise
Daily exercise helps you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep studies found that exercise improves the quality of your sleep. If you exercise sporadically, you may not see any results, but a regular pattern of daily exercise will improve your sleep. Walking for 20 to 25 minutes a day can be helpful. Or you can try other exercises like
- Riding a bicycle
- Walking fast
Don’t exercise 3 hours before bed as this can make it difficult for you to relax enough to sleep.
2 – Plan your sleep and waking moments
Keep a regular schedule for getting up and the times that they will be. This helps your body regulate your waking cycle and your sleep cycle. This helps you to have the ability to enter light sleep and REM sleep. It can even help you wake up easier.
3 – Don’t let stress rule you
Find creative ways to get rid of stress. Life gets busy with work, children, household projects, and the extended family. If you feel stressed by everything that happens in your life, you will not sleep well. Find a way to relieve your stress through a hobby, mindfulness, or a journal. These habits give your mind and body a break. You will feel more refreshed and less overwhelmed. Some people have found aromatherapy helpful. Aromatherapy uses essential oils for relaxation and stress release. Use a diffuser with essential oils like
- Lavender oil
- Chamomile oil
- Sweet Majoram Oil
- Valerian oil
- Sandalwood oil
4 – Limit the amount you drink in the afternoon
Hydrate during the day, but reduce fluid intake at night to avoid the need to get up during the night. Don’t drink wine or other alcoholic beverages late at night, as they can disrupt your sleep cycle at night as well.
Sleep is so important for you to function well during the day, but how do you know if you really get enough sleep at night?
Here are some signs that you are has not had enough sleep At night.
- Feeling of drowsiness during the day. You can even fall asleep at work or in your chair at home during the day.
- Mini naps during the day
- Feeling dizzy when you wake up in the morning and during the day.
- I can’t get out of bed in the morning.
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling more hungry due to lack of sleep.
- Forgetting things
- Having trouble remembering things.
- Difficult to focus
- Sleep until the days when you don’t need to get up.
Here are signs that you are getting enough sleep at night.
- You feel healthy, happy and energetic during the day.
- You are focused and productive during the day.
- Relying on caffeine to get you through the day.
- You don’t feel sleepy or drowsy during the day.
- You keep a regular sleep and wake schedule. Plus, it is easy for you to get up in the morning.
Lack of sleep can also cause other symptoms such as:
- Slower reaction times when driving
- A weakened immune system can make you sick.
- Feeling pain more often.
- Greater chances of heart attack, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure
- You will have less sexual desire.
- Wrinkles on your skin, circles under your eyes
- Overeating, weight gain.
- You will make bad decisions.
How to get a good night’s sleep
There are several ways to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. These are some good tips to follow.
- Stick to the schedule: Go to bed at around the same time every night. Try to get up at the same time every morning. This creates a regular cycle for your body.
- Sleeping Sanctuary – Your bedroom should be quiet, dark, and comfortable for sleeping. Remove any extra furniture cluttering the room. If possible, don’t work in your bedroom. Keep this strictly for sex or sleeping. No television and turn off your smartphone.
- Have a bedtime routine – Begin to relax as bedtime approaches. Take a bath, read a book, anything to relax.
- Try not to drink too much caffeine during the day.
- Avoid naps if possible, as this can affect your ability to sleep.
- If you’re still not sleeping well, it may be best to talk to your doctor. If you are taking medications like Synthroid, you may need an adjustment to help you sleep, as too much or too little can keep you awake.
REM and Non-REM sleep are important for you to function during the day. They improve your memory, learning and ability to concentrate. If you are not sleeping well, it can affect your mood and lead to depression, heart and metabolism problems. But at the same time, we are all different when it comes to sleeping.
We all have different things that can interfere with sleep. Try to take steps to get a good night’s sleep with exercise, limited alcohol at night, and find ways to reduce stress. Some people have found sleep apps helpful in regulating their sleep patterns. These apps customize your sleep routine and sometimes offer suggestions on how to sleep better accordingly.