IN-DEPTH: Understanding REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep

10th Mar 2020

10th Mar 2020
IN-DEPTH: Understanding REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep

Learn what’s going on inside your head while you’re all zzz’s

Do you remember your most recent dream?

Unknown to most of us, the average human spends at least two hours in dreamland every night—unless you belong to the very minor, not-so-average slice of the pie who cannot sustain dreams due to brain injuries. Dreams, or dreaming, have always fascinated experts. Not much has been discovered about how we dream or why. Researchers did figure out that newborns dream, too, which unlocked a scientific breakthrough so significant that it changed the way we know about sleep.

Dreams, learning, and REM sleep: A mystifying link

Not until recently that we discovered that REM sleep is vital for our well-being, at least in the case of rats. Based on research findings, depriving lab rodents of REM sleep greatly shortens their lifespans. Other mammals and birds also undergo REM sleep stages, but fishes and cold-blooded animals do not.

So what is REM? For starters, it's the Rapid Eye Movement sleep stage. It usually begins after a period of sleep known as stage 4 or the deep sleep. The average person generally enters the REM sleep about 90 minutes after initially falling asleep, and each REM period can last up to an hour.

During this phase, dreams are being brewed and flashed into the entire central nervous system. An area of the brain called the pons is the core of REM sleep—it shuts off signals to the spinal cord.

This blockage of signals by the pons is proven crucial, as it causes the body to be immobile when you dream during REM. If the pons doesn't shut down the spinal cord's signals (as is the case of severe sleepwalking), you will act out your dreams, which could be dangerous because of a lack of voluntary control over your senses and mobility. It's a rare condition known as REM sleep behavior disorder.

REM is also linked to learning as the pons (which is the center of REM sleep) sends signals to the cerebral cortex by way of the thalamus—a filter and relay for sensory information and motor control functions. In brain anatomy, the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain responsible for processing information—and that involves learning, thinking, and organizing thoughts.

How is REM sleep connected to these complex processes? These are the areas of the brain “turned on” during REM sleep, and it seems to have a tremendous impact on our rate of learning and the sharpness of our memory. For instance, infants spend almost 50% of their sleep in the REM (compared to 20% in adults), which explains why babies and toddlers learn and store massive amounts of information during this stage.

Okay. Now we're positive about one thing: REM sleep is an essential element of our sleep. So, we only need to get more of it—but the question is: how?

Better mattress, better REM sleep

As we've emphasized earlier, REM sleep is vital for maintaining good brain health. To achieve longer periods of uninterrupted REM sleep, "sound" sleep is required. And by sound, you need to invest in something far more physical—your mattress.

The right mattress improves your overall sleep quality; that’s a fact. If you insist on using an old, uncomfortable mattress, it could lead to stress build-up. Long-term stress and sleep discomforts may result in depression or other psychological problems. Sleeping on a lousy bed, besides, often misalign your natural body posture and form pressure points, developing into back pain, hip pain, and neck pain.

You can avoid all of these pesky circumstances easily by choosing a mattress that is most suitable for your sleep needs. A comfy mattress provides a restful sleep that promotes stress-relief and total well-being in the long run. Peace of mind and an elated mood every morning are also by-products of sleeping on a reliable mattress.

Hundreds of our customers have experienced these life-changing benefits of sleeping on a well-built and comfortable mattress. If you want to put our mattress to the test, click [here] for a 100-night sleep trial.

Do you remember your most recent dream?

Unknown to most of us, the average human spends at least two hours in dreamland every night—unless you belong to the very minor, not-so-average slice of the pie who cannot sustain dreams due to brain injuries. Dreams, or dreaming, have always fascinated experts. Not much has been discovered about how we dream or why. Researchers did figure out that newborns dream, too, which unlocked a scientific breakthrough so significant that it changed the way we know about sleep.

Dreams, learning, and REM sleep: A mystifying link

Not until recently that we discovered that REM sleep is vital for our well-being, at least in the case of rats. Based on research findings, depriving lab rodents of REM sleep greatly shortens their lifespans. Other mammals and birds also undergo REM sleep stages, but fishes and cold-blooded animals do not.

So what is REM? For starters, it's the Rapid Eye Movement sleep stage. It usually begins after a period of sleep known as stage 4 or the deep sleep. The average person generally enters the REM sleep about 90 minutes after initially falling asleep, and each REM period can last up to an hour.

During this phase, dreams are being brewed and flashed into the entire central nervous system. An area of the brain called the pons is the core of REM sleep—it shuts off signals to the spinal cord.

This blockage of signals by the pons is proven crucial, as it causes the body to be immobile when you dream during REM. If the pons doesn't shut down the spinal cord's signals (as is the case of severe sleepwalking), you will act out your dreams, which could be dangerous because of a lack of voluntary control over your senses and mobility. It's a rare condition known as REM sleep behavior disorder.

REM is also linked to learning as the pons (which is the center of REM sleep) sends signals to the cerebral cortex by way of the thalamus—a filter and relay for sensory information and motor control functions. In brain anatomy, the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain responsible for processing information—and that involves learning, thinking, and organizing thoughts.

How is REM sleep connected to these complex processes? These are the areas of the brain “turned on” during REM sleep, and it seems to have a tremendous impact on our rate of learning and the sharpness of our memory. For instance, infants spend almost 50% of their sleep in the REM (compared to 20% in adults), which explains why babies and toddlers learn and store massive amounts of information during this stage.

Okay. Now we're positive about one thing: REM sleep is an essential element of our sleep. So, we only need to get more of it—but the question is: how?

Better mattress, better REM sleep

As we've emphasized earlier, REM sleep is vital for maintaining good brain health. To achieve longer periods of uninterrupted REM sleep, "sound" sleep is required. And by sound, you need to invest in something far more physical—your mattress.

The right mattress improves your overall sleep quality; that’s a fact. If you insist on using an old, uncomfortable mattress, it could lead to stress build-up. Long-term stress and sleep discomforts may result in depression or other psychological problems. Sleeping on a lousy bed, besides, often misalign your natural body posture and form pressure points, developing into back pain, hip pain, and neck pain.

You can avoid all of these pesky circumstances easily by choosing a mattress that is most suitable for your sleep needs. A comfy mattress provides a restful sleep that promotes stress-relief and total well-being in the long run. Peace of mind and an elated mood every morning are also by-products of sleeping on a reliable mattress.

Hundreds of our customers have experienced these life-changing benefits of sleeping on a well-built and comfortable mattress. If you want to put our mattress to the test, click [here] for a 100-night sleep trial.

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