What is REM sleep?

REM sleep is the rapid eye movement that occurs during sleep. When you sleep, your brain moves through five different stages; one of these stages is REM sleep. You enter REM sleep within the first 90 minutes of falling asleep and, as the sleep cycle repeats throughout the night, REM sleep occurs several times each night.

How much REM sleep is needed?
A whole sleep cycle takes 90 to 110 minutes, so you will probably sleep four to six complete cycles each night. The time spent in stage 5, REM sleep, should increase with each cycle as the time spent in stage 4 deep sleep decreases. If you don’t get enough REM sleep each night you’ll feel pretty tired the next day and probably rather foggy headed.

Why is REM sleep important?
REM sleep has two important roles:

  1. Restoration - Your body restores itself during REM sleep and without it can’t fully heal itself from the activities of the day.
  2. Memory consolidation and renewal - REM sleep aids your ability to remember and learn. Babies sleep the longest duration of REM sleep and older people sleep the least. Dreams are most vivid during REM sleep, which scientists believe helps the brain to manage emotions and stress, and process information and memories. 

What are the stages of sleep?
Stage 1 - Light sleep lasting around five minutes.You may still be aware of your surroundings.

Stage 2 - Deeper sleep for 45-50 minutes, but you may still easily wake up if disturbed.

Stage 3 - A transitioning phase of 5 minutes much deeper sleep.

Stage 4 - The phase of deepest sleep which lasts for approximately 15 minutes.

Stage 5 - REM sleep for about 25 minutes.

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