Everything You Need To Know About REM Sleep

REM Sleep - That Phase of Sleep when you Dream


“Sleep” – the word itself has a relaxing effect on our mind after a long day’s work. Isn’t it? All of us are aware of the importance of sleep to loosen up and relax our minds and bodies and prepare for the next day. However, did you know that there are actually several cycles or phases we go through, every time we fall asleep? Each of these cycles are vital for our body as well as mind, but the most fascinating of them all, is REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep.

What’s this REM sleep?

The name “rapid eye movement sleep” (REM) was decided by Dr. William Dement, together with his associate researchers, in 1953, the year of its discovery at the University of Chicago. The reason behind such a name, was that, the participants in the research flickered their eyelids rapidly, at random intervals of time, during this stage of sleep.

Why is it called Paradoxical sleep?

REM sleep is, however, also known as “paradoxical sleep”. Just like a paradox seems apparently reasoning but logically unreasonable, in this stage of sleep, although you are amidst sleep, your forebrain and midbrain works intensely, thus resulting in dreams. There is, however, no muscular movement other than random flickering of eyelids. When monitored on electroencephalogram (EEG), this phase shows similar brain wave patterns as during the waking state. Thus, Neuroscientist Dr. Allison Brager beautifully describes the term Paradoxical Sleep saying, “It’s like putting your brain on the gas and your body on the brake at the same time.”

Importance of REM Sleep

We’ve already ,mentioned that every phase in your sleep is important, but whats the importance of the REM phase? Well, you’d love to discover that this phase in your sleep cycle, helps you to retain your most cherished memories and also in learning. This is because, this phase energizes the portion of the brain that works towards the aforesaid activities. A study conducted on rats by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, showed that when deprived of REM sleep, Rats had a considerably shorter life-span, which was reduced to about 5 weeks from the natural 2-3 years. During the REM phase of your sleep, several important neural connections are exercised by our brains, which is extremely vital for the overall well-being of our physical as well as mental health.

Read Also: Music To Help You Fall Asleep Faster

REM Sleep and its Impact on Us

This part is really interesting! This is the sole stage of your entire sleep, where you get dreams. Do you at times dream for the entire night? Well then, that’s perhaps, because you are sleep-deprived. Even sleep scientists are yet to discover the exact reason behind dreams and their specific meanings. However, they have discovered that REM sleep has a major impact on the health and performance of the human mind and body.

Choocha the Dreamer and Hunny the dream decoder in "Fukrey"
Choocha the Dreamer and Hunny the dream decoder in “Fukrey”

Image Credit: mensxp.com

Remember “Choocha” from the Bollywood hit movie series “Fukrey“? Yes, its during his REM sleep, that he had his million dollar dreams, which when decoded by “Hunny” his friend, won them lotteries!

Well, REM sleep may not win you lotteries, but it does a lot to keep you healthy and sane. Yes, it helps you to retain the necessary memories and filters out the unwanted, thus, you learn faster in the process. Famous American writer the late Dale Carnegie, in his book. “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” tells us about the importance of emotional balance to achieve success in life. Its REM sleep again, that helps us maintain this balance.

Now that you know when you dream at night, do you want to share your lovely, funny or scary dream experiences with us? Go ahead and comment below!

Read Also: What Happens When You Don’t Sleep For 2 Consecutive Days And Nights?

DISCLAIMER: While we have taken steps to check the accuracy of information & practices shared here; it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. it is important to first always check with your own doctor before trying any medication, practice or suggestion from this site.