Call: 866-625-0087

Follow us on:

What Is REM Sleep?

REM Sleep

Reading Time: 3 minutes

While you are asleep, your brain travels through 5 different stages. REM sleep is one of these stages. REM stands for rapid eye movement because as the name suggests, your eyes move rapidly and in various directions during this stage. This occurs within the first 90 minutes of a person falling asleep and will repeat throughout the sleep cycle. Before your brain begins REM sleep, it must go through non-REM sleep, which accounts for the first stages of sleep.

The Stages of Non-REM Sleep

Each stage of non-REM sleep lasts for between 5-15 minutes before entering REM sleep.

  • Stage 1

    You are in a very light sleep or are between being awake and asleep. You can be woken easily. As your muscle activity slows, you may experience muscle contractions which sometimes makes a person feel like they are falling because of a sudden contraction.

  • Stage 2

    Your sleep is slightly deeper as your body prepares itself for total relaxation. There may be a random burst of rapid brain waves as your body’s temperature drops and your heart rate slows down.

  • Stages 3 and 4

    You enter a deep sleep that becomes restorative. This sleep is referred to as slow-wave sleep or delta sleep because of extremely slow brain wave activity. Your muscles relax, hormones are release and energy is replenished. The body is able to repairs itself and grow necessary tissues as the supply of blood to the muscles increases. In this stage, people experience sleepwalking, night terrors, sleep talking as well as bedwetting. This is known as parasomnias and occurs as the brain transitions from non-REM sleep to REM sleep. If your sleep is disturbed during stage 4, you’re likely to feel disorientated for a little while due to the brain only producing delta waves (extremely slow brain waves).

Functions of REM Sleep

During REM sleep, the body and brain experience various changes such as:

  • Fast/irregular breathing
  • Rapid movement of the eyes
  • Increased heart rate as high as walking levels
  • Changes in the body’s temperature
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Brain activity that can be compared to when you are awake
  • Twitching of the face and limbs

Based on research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, REM sleep benefits learning, memory and mood. For infants, it is believed that this sleep contributes to brain development. Adversely, a lack of REM sleep may have negative effect on physical and emotional health. This study also shows that when people do not experience the REM stage of sleep, they have difficulty with remembering what they learnt or were taught before falling asleep. A lack of REM sleep has been linked to a reduction in general coping skills, migraines as well as short sleep times affecting a person’s weight.

Improving REM sleep time

Enhancing your REM and non-REM sleep will benefit you in many ways. These tips are simple enough to get your sleep back on track so that you wake up feeling rested and have the energy to take on the day in a meaningful way.

  • Establish a bedtime routine for every night. This will help prepare your body and your mind for sleep and therefore rest. This can lead to more hours of sleep which can mean more REM sleep phases.
  • Reduce interruptions to your night time sleep. These interruptions include warm temperatures, loud sounds and bright lights. Switching off your cellphone and other sources of noise will prevent your sleep from being interrupted. Keep your room at a 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit as to remain comfortable and be sure to remove any light sources that may disturb your rest.
  • Make time for sleep. This may sound strange but we tend to try and fit in as much as possible and this compromises our sleep. This begins a cycle of tiredness and sluggish behavior and causes more harm than good. An adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep and getting anything less than this means that your body will experience less REM phases which is where you’ll get the most benefit from your sleep.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before sleeping. Alcohol reduces the number of REM phases and can cause a delay in entering your first REM stage.

If you still feel that you are not getting the restorative sleep your body needs, there are sleep treatments such as Energy Medicine which brings flow, balance and renewal of the body energies to encourage REM sleep, which can be a contributing factor when it comes to difficulty getting beneficial sleep.

REM sleep is beneficial for both adults and children because of the area of the brain that is stimulated during this phase. It is important for normal brain development and functioning. REM sleep affects learning of mental skills and the body’s ability to remember what they have learnt. Sleep forms a vital part of overall good health and ensures optimal functioning during your daily activities. Each of the stages of sleep are important for your body and brains recovery but REM sleep remains the most beneficial.

Spread the love


Follow us for all the latest news, tips and updates.

Are you a reseller, retail store owner, or health provider?

Partner with a unique company that cares — we only sell to individual stores and doctor offices.

Become a Dealer