Table of contents:
- Why REM sleep is important
- How it happens
- How to achieve REM sleep
- Consequences of lack of REM sleep
REM sleep is a phase of sleep that is characterized by rapid eye movements, vivid dreams, involuntary muscle movements, intense brain activity, faster breathing and heartbeat that ensure greater oxygen supply during this period. This sleep phase is very important in the processing of memories and knowledge, for example.
During sleep, there are several different moments, the first moment consisting of the lightest sleep and then going through other phases until reaching REM sleep. However, in order to achieve REM sleep, some measures are needed before bed, such as avoiding cell phone use, ingesting drinks and foods rich in caffeine and alcohol, and maintaining a dark environment to activate melatonin, which is the hormone produced by the body to regulate sleep.
See more details on how the sleep cycle works and its phases.
Why REM sleep is important
Reaching the stage of REM sleep is important for fixing memories, processing experiences and knowledge acquired during the day. In addition, REM sleep ensures a good night's rest and general balance in the body, helping to prevent heart disease and mental and psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. Check out some tips for a good night's sleep.
In babies and children, REM sleep is even more important because as they are going through a period of intense development, the brain needs to organize all the learning accumulated daily in order to later reproduce what it has learned. Thus, it is natural for children to reach REM sleep faster and stay longer than adults.
How it happens
During sleep there is a cycle of several phases and REM sleep happens in the fourth phase, so it takes time to reach this period. First, the body goes through a non-REM sleep process, which consists of a first stage of light sleep, which lasts approximately 90 minutes, and then another stage, also of light sleep, which takes an average of 20 minutes.
After these two stages, the body reaches REM sleep and the person begins to dream and has changes in the body, such as rapid eye movements, even closed, increased brain functioning, and breathing and heartbeat more fast.
The duration of REM sleep depends on each person and the total sleep time, which ideally should be between 7 to 9 hours, and during the night the person goes through this phase a few times, repeating the cycle of 4 to 5 times.
How to achieve REM sleep
To achieve REM sleep and improve the quality of rest time during the night, it is ideal to follow some measures, such as establishing a bedtime routine to prepare the body and mind, being necessary to reduce ambient light, avoid loud sounds and not using your cell phone or watching television right before bed.
In addition, you should keep the room temperature between 19 to 21 degrees, as a pleasant climate is also important for the body to rest properly and it is not recommended to eat foods or drinks with a lot of sugar, caffeine and alcohol as this can negatively influence the quality of sleep.
See in the video below 10 tricks to sleep fast and better and in this way improve the quality of REM sleep:
Consequences of lack of REM sleep
If a person does not reach REM sleep, it can have some consequences on the body and mind, as it is a period of sleep necessary for brain renewal. Some studies show that adults and children who do not reach REM sleep are at greater risk of developing migraines, obesity, and are more likely to have learning problems and suffer from anxiety and stress.
However, some he alth problems can impair sleep and make a person not reach REM sleep easily, such as sleep apnea, which is the disorder that causes the momentary stop of breathing.Narcolepsy is another disease that causes abnormalities in the regulation of REM sleep and occurs when a person falls asleep at any time of the day and anywhere. See better what narcolepsy is and how to treat it.