REM sleep is a sleep phase 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, several different moments occur, the first moment being lighter sleep […]
REM sleep is a sleep phase 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, several different moments occur, the first moment being lighter sleep and then going through other phases until reaching REM sleep. However, in order to achieve REM sleep, some measures are needed before bedtime, such as avoiding cell phone use, ingestion of beverages and foods rich in caffeine and alcohol, and it is necessary to maintain a dark environment to activate melatonin, which is the hormone produced by the body with the function of regulating sleep.
Why REM sleep is important
Reaching the REM sleep stage is important for fixing memories, processing experiences and knowledge acquired during the day. In addition, REM sleep ensures a good night’s rest and overall body balance, 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 moment of intense development, the brain needs to organize all the learning accumulated daily and then reproduce what it has learned. Thus, it is natural for children to achieve faster and stay longer in REM sleep than adults.
how does it happen?
During sleep there is a cycle of several phases and REM sleep happens in the fourth phase, so it takes a long 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 steps, the body reaches REM sleep and the person starts dreaming and has changes in the body, such as rapid eye movements, even closed, increased brain function, 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, and 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 at 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 use the cell phone and not even watching television right before bed.
In addition, the room temperature must be maintained between 19 and 21 degrees Celsius, 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.
Consequences of Lack of REM Sleep
If a person does not achieve 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, in addition to being 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 fall into REM sleep easily, such as sleep apnea, which is the disorder that causes breathing to stop momentarily. Narcolepsy is another disease that causes abnormalities in the regulation of REM sleep and occurs when a person goes to sleep at any time of day and in any place.