Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep is one of the most fascinating periods of rest. It is during this stage that we dream. However, the benefits associated with REM sleep are difficult to understand.
All animals, and in particular mammals, experience REM sleep. Many people are even able to find meaning for their various dreams. This stage of sleep is an ever-present phenomenon in young kids despite them needing 4-5 years before they can begin reporting dreams.
It Is Not The Only Stage Of Sleep
REM is an essential phase of sleep. However, its distinction makes other stages get less recognition. These are the Non-REM stages of rest. These stages are still noteworthy because they take up more time of our rest than REM does.
Non-REM sleep or rather NREM is often dreamless and precedes REM sleep. For most of the time, you are asleep you experience NREM sleep stage.
NREM sleep is often associated with a couple of sleep disorders. Sleep talking, sleepwalking, snoring, night terrors, etc. are usually found during the NREM stage.
REM Has A Positive Impact On Your Health
REM has for a very long time been at the center of numerous studies into human sleeping patterns. Its distinct nature and shorter time during one’s sleep make for this peculiarity. Hence the keen interest of scientists and researchers.
The workings surrounding REM phase are however not much understood. Nevertheless, several postulations help point out some of its benefits to our health. This article will look into some of the benefits associated with REM sleep alongside its various features.
REM Sleep Helps Improve Your Memory
REM sleep improves the proliferation of cells in the brain. This contributes to improvement in emotional, spatial, and procedural memory.
Sleeping is often credited with helping transform short-term memory to long-term memory. That is why you will hardly ever be successful at cramming if you do not sleep properly.
Therefore, REM sleep has the potential to help in learning as you will easily recall what you learned the night before. This benefit also contributes to the development of problem-solving abilities.
Research has indicated that several mammals are often awake after a momentary REM sleep phase. This behavior keeps them alert, enabling them to scan their environment and thus avoid potential predators. Human beings are even more likely to wake up after a period of this sleep.
REM sleep plays a significant role in the environmental adaptation and survival of animals within a predation zone.
Increased Energy Reserve In The Brain
During the REM cycles, the visceral brain becomes more active facilitating ATP compensation in the tissues of the brain. ATP is the primary energy component in the body. This type of resting phase ensures a continuous supply of energy to the brain cells and tissues. This will maintain and promote proper functioning of the brain.
Inadequate rest will increase your susceptibility to diseases. Sleep and our immune system are directly related, and this contributes to a healthy body.
Cytokines which help target infections and inflammations are usually made during REM sleep. They are protein in nature, and they create an immune response against pathogens caused by bacteria, viruses and even parasites.
Fresh Oxygen Supply to The Cornea
The cornea of the eye requires constant nourishment and oxygen supply. Therefore, this nourishment is facilitated through the aqueous humor which must be kept in constant circulation to nourish the cornea and supply it with oxygen.
REM stage facilitates this movement which, in turn, stirs the aqueous humor and promote the diffusion of oxygen.
Stages of REM Sleep
REM has got four stages, and they include the tonic REM sleep, Phasic REM sleep, and effort and arousal stages. Some of the stages share common traits at some points of these cycles despite taking place simultaneously. These common traits areas outlined below:
REM has got four stages, and these are Tonic REM sleep, Phasic REM sleep, Effort, and Arousal stages.
Each of these stages shares common traits with the other. For instance, Tonic REM and Effort share numerous physiological resemblances just as Phasic and Arousal also share some characteristics.
Some of these characteristics are outlined below:
Tonic REM and Effort stages
- Periodic dilation and constriction of the pupils
- Reduction in your heart rate
- Increased rhythmic theta waves during the stages
- Increased activity of the visceral brain
Phasic REM And Arousal Stage
- There is an increase in heart rate
- Sufficient increase in blood pressure level
- Fluctuation in respiratory functions
In conclusion, REM sleep is a crucial stage of sleep. It contributes to boosting your memory, learning ability and enhances your overall health. It is therefore vital to have enough rest every day since it adds to the REM phase of sleep.