Stages of Sleep Psychology: REM and Non-REM Sleep Cycles
Sleep, obviously, the most important thing you need to do well the following day. Ensuring sound sleep at night is meant to ensuring your better life. A lot of physical and psychological things are related to sleep. A good night’s sleep can help you perform well for whole day.
When you sleep at night, you cycle between two main stages of sleep cycles- REM and NREM. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement whereas NREM stands for Non-Rapid Eye Movement. Our body repairs, restores and dream while we sleep. NREM happens first and then REM. This sleep cycle repeats for the whole night.
Both stages are equally important for our body and mind. Our body repairs, re-grows, strengthens immune system of our body, builds our body muscles during NREM sleep stage. And when we pass NREM and enter REM, we dream as our brain keeps more active, heart rate increases. You may also experience sleep paralysis if any of your sleep stage does not complete
However, as the title of this post is all about the stages of sleep including REM and NREM, let me tell you exactly what happens in these sleep stages.
As NREM comes first while sleeping at night, I would like to describe all about it. And, then, I will tell you about the later phase of sleep, REM.
NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement stage)
We have to pass three short phases of sleep during NREM. Every stage lasts short. Average duration of this phase lasts from 5 to 15 minutes. After finishing these phases, our sleep shifts to REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
Phase #01: Though your eyes are closed, it is easy for you to wake up easily. And, this is the first stage of your sleep at night. On average, this phase lasts up to 10 minutes.
Phase #02: In this phase, your body temperature starts to decrease slowly to allow you to sleep well. Your heart rate also gets slow. You will fall in light sleep stage and slowly it will take you to the deep sleep.
Phase #03: This is the stage when you sleep deeply allowing your body to repair, re-grow tissues, build bones and also increase your immune system. Actually, NREM sleep stage occurs in this phase. And, if someone wants you to wake up, you will feel disturbed and disoriented for minutes.
Also, this deep sleep stage leads you to the REM sleep stage. But due to less and deep sleep in your older age, you may see aging symptom in you.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement)
The stage of sleep is very important as your brain keep more active to recollect and increase your memory. That’s why; you may have dreams during sleep. Almost every individual dreams at night for several times.
Rapid Eye Movement starts almost one hour and a half after you go to bed. This phase may continue just for ten minutes for the first time and it continues to increase the duration. In the final stage of REM, your heart rate and breathing get faster and it continues at least an hour. In the meantime, if your sleep breaks for any disturbance, you may have sleep paralysis as well.
But as you grow older, the duration of your REM sleep phase will decrease. So, it is seen that babies spend most time in REM sleep stage compared to adults.