REM sleep is a sleep phase that is characterized by rapid eye movements, vivid dreams, involuntary muscle movements, intense brain activity, faster breathing, and a heartbeat that ensure a 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.
Why REM sleep is important
Reaching the stage of REM sleep is important for fixing memories, and 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.
In babies and children, REM sleep is even more important because they are going through a period of intense development. The brain needs to organize all the learning accumulated daily to later reproduce what it has learned. In this way, it is natural for children to reach REM sleep faster and stay longer in REM sleep than adults.
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As it happens
During sleep, there is a cycle of several phases and REM sleep takes place 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 the 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 faster breathing and heartbeat.
The duration of REM sleep depends on each person and the total sleep time, which ideally should be between 7 to 9 hours, during the night the person goes through this phase a few times, repeating the cycle 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 your body and mind, being necessary to reduce ambient light, avoiding loud sounds, and not using a cell phone and not even watching TV right before bed.
In addition, the room temperature should be kept 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 have a negative influence. the quality of 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, and obesity. And are more likely to have learning problems and suffer from anxiety and stress.
However, some health problems can impair sleep and cause a person not to reach REM sleep easily, such as sleep apnea, which is a disorder that causes a momentary stop in 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.
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