Rapid eye movement, referred to as REM sleep, is a state of sleep named after the early observation of periods of sleep with fast, darting movements of the eyes. Early interest in REM was predominantly related to the fact that the majority of dreams occur in REM sleep. Later, other physiological characteristics of REM were described including brain wave activity resembling light sleep, irregular breathing and heart rates and very low levels of muscle tone in all voluntary muscles. In fact, most of the voluntary muscles are temporarily paralyzed during REM sleep, leading to the saying that REM sleep is an “alert mind in a paralyzed body.” A typical REM period lasts 20-30 minutes and REM periods occur 3-6 times during the night, as REM alternates with NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. The REM periods become longer as the night continues.
Articles in this section
- How does sleep relate to weight?
- How much sleep do I need?
- What is a Pre-Bed Routine?
- What should I avoid before bed?
- What are some good pre-bed activities?
- Why is sleep important?
- Do energy drinks affect sleep?
- How do nicotine and smoking tobacco affect sleep?
- How does nutrition affect sleep?
- Should I read or watch television in bed?