R.E.M. refers to Rapid Eye Movement during sleep. Rapid eye movement is one of five stages of slumber that people experience during the night. It takes up about 20% of the average person's sleep time. Babies usually spend 50% of their sleep time in REM and it may be responsible for brain cell development.
REM can be experienced four or five times during the night starting about 90 minutes after you first fall asleep. The first occurrence may not last long, but it increases as people relax and the body rests. People may wake up after a REM cycle and dream and then return to sleep. They may not even be aware of this.
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While there is rapid movement of the eyes, other parts of the body are in paralysis, according to medical experts. Studies have shown that REM sleep triggers neurons in the brain that halt monoamines that are responsible for large muscle movement. However, breathing rate, heartbeat and body temperature can increase during the REM cycle.
Various theories suggest that REM stimulates memory with this release of neurons. The neurons may build new pathways in brain cells. REM may also stimulate creativity and lead to problem solving. This relates to the old concept of "I'll sleep on it," in relation to dealing with a problem situation.
Research shows that people dream during this period also known as paradoxical sleep. The last REM cycle often occurs in early morning just prior to waking up. Some people forget their dreams while others remember them.
REM and non-REM sleep may also be influenced by bedtime habits including medications, alcohol, other liquids and food consumed shortly before retiring.
You need to sleep comfortably with the individual support your body requires. Non-REM sleep is when your body renews itself. Your body still requires sleep as you age and the REM percentage of your rest should remain about 20%.
Comfort starts with the right mattress that enables your body and your mind to relax. This will help you achieve good health with restful slumber.