The Dreaming Stage Of Sleep
Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep. On average, you will spend about two hours per night dreaming. Often those dreams arent remembered. If you wake from REM sleep, youre more likely to recall that youve been dreaming.
Dreaming is one of the great mysteries of the human experience, and of sleep itself. Humans have long wondered about the meaning and purpose of dreams, and cultures have connected dreams to their deepest hopes and fears. Many ancient cultures saw dreams as messages, often warnings, from the gods. Throughout history, dreams have been regarded as out-of-body explorations for the soul, as a means to communicate with the dead, and as harbingers of evil spirits. Sigmund Freud theorized dreams as a landscape in which to explore the repressed emotions and desires of the unconscious mind. Carl Jung also saw dreaming as a view to the unconscious, but believed dreams manifested the fears and emotions left un-tended in our waking lives.
Do Blind People Dream
The visual aspect of a blind persons dreams varies significantly depending on when in their development they became blind. Some blind people have dreams that are similar to the dreams of sighted people in terms of visual content and sensory experiences, while other blind people have dreams that are quite different.
Rem Sleep Dreams: What Stage Of Sleep Do You Dream
Have you ever woken upright in the middle of a peaceful or exciting dream? Maybe you were floating in the ocean in a state of utter bliss, or perhaps you were being chased by outlaws in the Wild West. After you woke up, you might have even found yourself feeling disappointed that you could not finish your dream. If this has happened to you, chances are you were woken up during a period of REM sleep.
So, what is REM sleep, and how is it linked to dreaming? What stage of sleep do you dream? Can you dream in all sleep stages? Does dreaming mean youre getting good sleep? Read on to learn answers to these questions.
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Why Do We Dream About Certain People
When you dream about someone, it is usually a reflection of how you feel about them in your waking life. Your dream may be telling you to pay attention to that person in your waking life. Your subconscious may be trying to connect the dots on something and needs your conscious mind to help them figure it out.
A Time For Mental Recharge
REM sleep is a phase thats closely linked with mental recharge. During its time in REM throughout the night, your brain refreshes and restores itself. This is one reason why REM sleep is so important, and why a healthy sleep routine with sufficient amounts of REM sleep is essential to feeling mentally and emotionally well, and to performing at your best during your waking life.
REM sleep is believed to play an important role in learning, memory, and emotion. It is often thought of as the sleep phase during which the brain restores itself. The areas of the brain that are most active during REM sleep are those related to thinking, learning, and decision-making, as well as to emotional regulation. REM sleep is linked to the brains ability to make new associations, aiding in the acquisition of new information, problem solving, and creativity. Research indicates REM may play an important role in some forms of memory consolidation, the process by which brain converts newly acquired information into longer-term memory. Evidence also suggests that during REM sleep the brain is at work processing emotions, helping to regulate mood.
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What Is Sleep Deprivation
When youre sleep deprived, youre not getting the total amount of sleep you need. Signs of sleep deprivation include:
- Falling asleep within a few minutes of lying down.
- Feeling drowsy during the day.
- Nodding off for microsleeps short periods of sleep during the day when youre otherwise awake.
- Sleep deprivation can be dangerous. Driving while tired causes about 100,000 car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also causes 1,500 deaths. If you feel tired on the road, pull over. Its not safe to drive if youre drowsy.
What Is The Sleep Cycle
Sleep is not uniform. Instead, over the course of the night, your total sleep is made up of several rounds of the sleep cycle, which is composed of four individual stages. In a typical night, a person goes through four to six sleep cycles. Not all sleep cycles are the same length, but on average they last about 90 minutes each.
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What Are Good Sleep Habits
Good sleep habits, also called good sleep hygiene, are practices to help you get enough quality sleep.
- Have a sleep schedule: Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends and vacations.
- Clear your mind before bed: Make a to-do list early in the evening, so you wont stay awake in bed and worry about the next day.
- Create a good sleep environment: Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable. Turn down the lights and avoid loud sounds. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Exercise every day: Stay active but try to avoid exercising during the few hours right before bed.
- Relax: Before bed, take a warm bath, read or do another relaxing activity.
- See your healthcare provider: If youve been having trouble sleeping or feel extra drowsy during the day, talk to your provider. There are many treatments available for sleep disorders.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Far from being a state of doing nothing, sleep is an essential part of our lives. It helps our body rest, recharge and repair. There are four sleep stages three in the non-REM phase plus REM sleep. Many factors can affect sleep quality, including the food and drink you consume before bed and room temperature. Many people experience trouble sleeping now and then. But if you think you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Common sleep disorders include insomnia and sleep apnea . Your provider can help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need.
Do Some People Dream More Than Others
If you have ever wondered why you felt you dreamt more as a child as compared to an adult, you would be correct. Infants and children can spend up to 50% of their time in the REM sleep cycles. In contrast adults will spend nearly half of their sleeping time in the second sleep state while only a small 20% is spent in the deep sleep of REM cycles. The other 30% of the sleeping time is divided among the other three levels of sleep.
Unfortunately, as you age, you will begin to spend progressively less time in the deep sleep REM cycles. So enjoy your deep and restful sleeps while you can, as well as your dreams.
If you are having trouble remembering your dreams later in the day after you wake up, you could start a dream journal. Recording your dreams if you happen to wake during a REM sleep cycle, can help you remember them. Just be sure to jot down anything you remember as soon as you wake up. This could be useful if you are having any recurring dreams or if you are interested in dream interpretation. Or it could just be a fun hobby.
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Is Dreaming Good For Your Brain
New research shows that dreaming actually serves a number of important functions, especially for learning and memory. Even though we think of sleep as powering down, our brains are doing anything but that when we get shut-eye. And we now know that dreaming is an important part of these nocturnal activities.
How Should We Sleep
- Hunter-gatherer tribes sleep in a biphasic pattern. They take a longer sleep period at night , followed by a 30-60 minute nap in the afternoon.
- They go to sleep 2-3 hours after sunset .
- Midnight is supposed to be the middle of the sleep cycle.
- Humans have a hardwired dip in alertness that occurs mid-afternoon.
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Memory Types And Dreaming
Two types of memory can form the basis of a dream.
- autobiographical memories, or long-lasting memories about the self
- episodic memories, which are memories about specific episodes or events
A study exploring different types of memory within dream content among 32 participants the following:
- One dream contained an episodic memory.
- Most dreams in the study contained low to moderate incorporations of autobiographical memory features.
Researchers suggest that memories of personal experiences are experienced fragmentarily and selectively during dreaming. The purpose may be to integrate these memories into the long-lasting autobiographical memory.
A hypothesis stating that dreams reflect waking-life experiences is supported by studies investigating the dreams of psychiatric patients and patients with sleep disorders. In short, their daytime symptoms and problems are reflected in their dreams.
In 1900, Freud described a category of dreams known as biographical dreams. These reflect the historical experience of being an infant without the typical defensive function. Many authors agree that some traumatic dreams perform a function of recovery.
One paper that the main aspect of traumatic dreams is to communicate an experience that the dreamer has in the dream but does not understand. This can help an individual reconstruct and come to terms with past trauma.
Things You Should Know About Rem Sleep
Sleep is a vital part of good health and optimal function during your waking hours. As you get your much needed, revitalizing rest at night, your body actually goes through various sleep cycles. Each phase of sleep is important and beneficial to your body and mind, but REM sleep is especially fascinating because it increases brain activity, promotes learning, and creates dreams.
Here are three interesting things that you should know about your REM sleep cycles that you experience each night as you rest, rejuvenate, and dream:
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Stage 5 Sleep Of The Sleep Cycle
Stage 5 of the sleep cycle, or REM sleep, is the stage of sleep associated with dreaming. It is very different physiologically from the other stages of sleep. The EEG resembles wake time. However, the skeletal muscles are atonic, or without movement. The breathing is more erratic and irregular. The heart rate often increases. It is theorized that muscle atonia evolved in order to protect the individual from injury during sleep.
What Are Types Of Dreams
Dreams can take on many different forms. Lucid dreams occur when a person is in a dream while being actively aware that they are dreaming. Vivid dreams involve especially realistic or clear dream content. Bad dreams are composed of bothersome or distressing content. Recurring dreams involve the same imagery repeating in multiple dreams over time.
Even within normal dreams, there are certain types of content that are especially identifiable. Among the most recognizable and common themes in dreams are things like flying, falling, being chased, or being unable to find a bathroom.
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When Should I Set My Alarm
An individual sleep cycle typically lasts around ninety minutes to two hours, during which the brain cycles from slow-wave sleep to REM sleep. However, the sleep cycle is not as simple as cycling through the stages sequentially.
As the night progresses, the amount of time we spend in a specific stage changes, as does the order of the stages. For example, the average length of the first non-REM-REM sleep cycle is 70 to 100 minutes.
The second, and subsequent, cycles are longer lasting â approximately 90 to 120 minutes . In adults, REM sleep increases as the night progresses and is longest in the last one-third of the time spent asleep. N2 begins to account for the majority of non-REM sleep, and N3 can even disappear altogether .
On the average night, adults typically need to complete at least four or five sleep cycles per night, or 7 to 9 total hours of sleep . However, there is a large degree of variability from person to person and from night to night .
Babies, for example, have shorter sleep cycles, lasting only about 50 minutes for the first nine months of life, and it is typical for newborns to sleep anywhere from 14 to 18 hours a day .
For naps, the most professionals agree that shorter naps are better if a personâs goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and alert. However, the results of a 2019 study indicated that 25-, 35-, and even 45-minute naps significantly reduced signs of stress and fatigue in physically active men .
Brain Activity And Dream Types
In neuroimaging studies of brain activity during REM sleep, scientists found that the distribution of brain activity might also be linked to specific dream features.
Several bizarre features of normal dreams with well-known neuropsychological syndromes that occur after brain damage, such as delusional misidentifications for faces and places.
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What Are The Different Stages Of Sleep
Every night when you go to sleep, your brain takes you through cycles of different sleep stages throughout the period youre asleep. These sleep stages generally consist of two broader states: non-rapid eye movement sleep and rapid-eye-movement sleep.
NREM sleep is further subdivided into three sleep stages:
Experts agree that all the sleep stages are important for maintaining healthy sleep, each stage for different reasons.
How Much Time In Rem
Over the course of a night, you spend approximately 25 percent of sleep in REM phase. REM sleep doesnt occur all at once. Instead, periods of REM are interspersed among the other stages of sleep as you move through a series of sleep cycles. It typically takes about 90 minutes of sleep to arrive at the first REM period. The first stop of the night in REM sleep is brief, lasting roughly five minutes. Each subsequent return to REM grows longer. REM sleep is predominant in the final third of the night, and the final stage of REM sleep can last 30 minutes. A full night of sleepâtypically in the range of seven to nine hoursâis necessary to achieve all the restorative benefits of REM sleep.
Jouvet’s Model Of Sleep
Michel Jouvet has shown that changes in EEG activity duringsleep is due to alternating activity of the raphe nuclei and thelocus coeruleus. According to Jouvet the onset of sleep is due toincreased activity of the raphe nuclei which secrete serotonin whenactive. The locus coeruleus which secretes norepinephrine whenactive, increases REM sleep. The activity of these two sitesalternate, which could account for the fluctuation between deep andlight sleep throughout the night. Since Jouvet’s research, severalneurotransmitters have been identified that are involved in thecontrol of REM sleep. Acetylcholine is involved in initiating REMsleep and serotonin and norepinephrine are involved in inhibitingREM sleep . The reticular formation in the hindbrain helpsregulate REM sleep and according to Kalat , when the reticularformation receives electrical stimulation, a sleeping person wakes up. It is known that body temperature controlledby the hypothalamus plays an important role in regulating the sleep-wakecycle. So a combination of physiological factors, brain areas, andneurotransmitters seems to be responsible for controlling fallingasleep and waking up .
Stages Of Sleep: The Sleep Cycle
There are five stages of sleep during the sleep cycle. Scientists categorized the stages of sleep based on the characteristics of the brain and body during sleep. Stage 1,2,3, and 4, are categorized as non-REM sleep, and the fifth stage, is REM sleep. Generally, brainwave frequencies and amplitudes from an electroencephelogram are used to differentiate the different stages of sleep, along with other biologic rhythms including eye movements and muscle movements .
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How Can You Have A Healthier Sleep Cycle
While you dont have full control of your sleep cycle, you can take steps to improve your chances of having a healthy progression through each sleep stage.
A key step is to focus on improving your sleep hygiene, which refers to your sleep environment and sleep-related habits. Achieving a more consistent sleep schedule, getting natural daylight exposure, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and eliminating noise and light disruptions can help you get uninterrupted sleep and promote proper alignment of your circadian rhythm.
If you find that you have excessive daytime sleepiness or otherwise suspect that you might have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, its important to talk with a doctor who can most appropriately guide your care. Addressing underlying issues may pave the way for more complete and restorative sleep cycles.
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