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All About REM Sleep: The Many Stages of Sleep

REM Sleep

A good night’s sleep is just as important, if not more important than diet and exercise when it comes to living your healthiest life. Sleep improves immunity, lowers the risk of disease, and is even linked with losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. So, how you do start sleeping better and experiencing all these incredible benefits?

Understanding good sleep starts with understanding the importance of the perfect mattress for your body type and the different stages of sleep, most importantly, rapid eye movement, or REM sleep. Read below for everything you need to know about how the right mattress can change the stages of sleep, improve your overall sleep habits, and put an end to any sleeping disorder!

Transitional Phase

Stage one of sleep is a non-rapid eye movement (NREM) stage. It is also known as the transitional phase because a person is in and out of consciousness.

This phase of sleep usually lasts about five to ten minutes and people generally consider this to be light sleep meaning that noise or some other small disruption would wake them. 

During this phase of sleep, the brain waves are relatively slow whereas in REM sleep the brain waves are more active.

Transitional sleep starts the overall sleep cycle and can be enhanced with the right mattress. Not all mattresses are right for your body, and the wrong one can delay your sleep cycle from progressing as it should. 

Light Sleep

Stage 2 is also considered NREM sleep meaning you are still sleeping lightly. A person can spend up to 50% of their night in this phase of sleep. 

During this sleep stage, your body temperature is cooling and your heart rate is slowing down. The brain waves speed up into brain wave activity called sleep spindles.

Deep Sleep

Stage 3 is deep sleep. It is still NREM sleep, but, during this stage, you are sleeping soundly, and if woken up you would be groggy.

Stage 3 is also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), referring to the low frequency of the brain waves. Research suggests that during deep sleep is when many of our bodies restorative processes occur. Deep sleep is when our cells and tissue are repaired and our immune system is strengthened.

The amount of deep sleep a person gets varies, particularly by age. An infant will get far more deep sleep than an adult.

Deep sleep is the last of the NREM stages and is characterized by a decrease in blood pressure and breathing is slower and rhythmic. 

REM Sleep

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is named such because during this stage your eyes are moving around very quickly, which does not happen in Non-REM sleep.

REM sleep usually starts about 90 minutes after falling asleep and lasts about 10 minutes. But, the common misconception about REM sleep is that once you are deeply asleep you stay in REM sleep until you wake up. 

In actuality, these phases of sleep cycle through. A phase of NREM is followed by a short amount of REM sleep and then back to NREM sleep. Each phase of REM sleep is a little bit longer, and at its longest REM phases can last up to an hour. 

During REM sleep you may experience very vivid dreams because your brain is very active. The area of the brain used in learning is stimulated, which may have an effect on normal brain development for babies. While adults only spend about 20% of the night in REM sleep, infants spend much more time in this stage.

There is research to show that we rely on REM sleep to help us learn and remember mental skills whereas NREM sleep does not have the same impact.

Good REM sleep also depends on having the right mattress. Think about it as having all the right equipment to complete a project. You can’t achieve quality REM sleep without a mattress and pillow picked with your body type in mind.

Sleeping Disorders

Sleep disorders can have a serious impact on the amount and quality of your sleep. Without enough good sleep, you can experience negative physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.

If you experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, fatigue during the day, frequent irritability or anxiety, or a lack of concentration, you may have a sleeping disorder.

REM sleep behavior disorder is a specific sleep disorder in which a person may start physically acting out – moving their arms and legs – while they are sleeping. This is sometimes a result of a dream they are having. A person experiencing REM sleep behavior disorder also might talk, laugh, or yell while they are sleeping.

Without good sleep, especially deep sleep and REM sleep, you may have trouble living an energetic, healthy lifestyle. 

If you want to know how to improve your sleep, keep reading!

Getting Better Sleep

Better sleep starts with your bed!

Having the right mattress and even the right pillow is critical to a comfortable, restful night of sleep. If you are interested in buying a new pillow, all pillows now on sale too!

All mattresses are not created equal and your mattress should perfectly match your needs and body type. For example, your body may be perfectly fit for a memory foam mattress or a spring core mattress. Or maybe you should try one of the hybrid mattresses which combine the best features of memory foam and spring core materials.

If you’re unsure what the right type of mattress is, check out this mattress match tool to find the perfect mattress for your body type.

Another important aspect of sleep is having a consistent, healthy bedtime routine. 

Staying on a bedtime schedule and controlling the environment in your bedroom can promote better, healthy sleep consistently. Even your diet and exercise can impact your bedtime routine and overall sleep quality.

Here are a few suggestions for improving your bedtime schedule:

  • How to Experience The Best Sleep. A Sleep Guide For Every Age Group.Remove screens! Blue light from your television or phone can prevent you from falling asleep or getting a full night’s sleep, so try to wind down the screen use up to 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Exercise! Getting regular exercise during the day can help you sleep better, but be careful about exercising too close to bedtime because you may still be feeling energized from your workout.
  • A healthy diet can also improve your sleep. Eating a smaller meal closer to bedtime is preferable to a large meal that may prevent you from falling asleep.

For more information on getting the best sleep possible, check out this sleep guide.

Sweet Dreams!

Now that you understand the different stages of NREM sleep and REM sleep you can appreciate how complex and important sleep really is.

And if you’re ready to sleep better tonight with a new mattress, save with one of our deals!


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