What is REM Sleep all About
REM sleep is a stage of sleep characterized by a number of features including rapid, low-voltage brain waves detectable on the electroencephalographic (EEG) recording, irregular breathing and heart rate and involuntary muscle jerks. Dreams occur during REM sleep.
We typically have 3 to 5 periods of REM sleep per night. They occur at intervals of 1-2 hours and are quite variable in length. An episode of REM sleep may last 5 minutes or over an hour. About 20% of sleep is REM sleep. If you sleep 7-8 hours a night, perhaps an hour and half of that time, 90 minutes, is REM sleep. By contrast, NREM (non-REM) sleep is dreamless sleep. During NREM, the brain waves on the EEG are typically slow and of high voltage, the breathing and heart rate are slow and regular, the blood pressure is low, and the sleeper is relatively still. NREM sleep is divided into 4 stages of increasing depth of sleep leading to REM sleep. About 80% of sleep is NREM sleep. If you sleep 7-8 hours a night, all but maybe an hour and a half is spent in dreamless NREM sleep.
We Are All Sleeping Less ? Are All becoming Insomniacs?
A recent study found 38 percent of U.S. adults said they were sleeping less than they were just five years earlier. Americans now average less than seven hours of sleep per night, and close to 60 percent now report they have trouble sleeping at least a few nights every week.
One of the biggest sleep problems of all, however, is work - the work ethic gone bad. To accommodate the relentless pressure for productivity, we're sleeping less and spending less time in social and leisure pursuits; the resulting stress can steal away even more sleep.
The need for sleep, anchored in part to the most ancient of man's rhythms, is etched deeply in our brains. When we interrupt the natural rhythm of day and night for any reason -- we risk setting off a cascade of problems. What we do at night affects everything we do during the day -- our ability to learn, our skills, our memory, stamina, health and safety. Most of all, it affects our mood: Chronic sleep disruption appears to be the single biggest trigger for depression!
Everyone has a troubled night sometimes, or even a run of them, which happens to the average person about once a year. It's part of being human, subject to stress and worry. But it's what we do in response to it, experts say that determines whether we will wind up with chronic insomnia.
Experts generally apply the "30-30 rule". It's insomnia if it takes you 30 minutes or more to fall asleep or if you're awake for 30 or more minutes during the night -- at least three times a week. No matter how little you sleep, it isn't insomnia unless it drags you down during the day. Those who have trouble falling asleep or waking up may not technically have insomnia but instead be suffering from something know as "sleep-phase disorder." In this case, people have unwittingly trained themselves to conk out at the wrong time Sleep patterns also shift during life.
Insomnia typically starts innocently enough. Something gives you one bad night -- or a few bad nights. After one bad night, most people experience a great deal of frustration and anxiety about falling asleep and staying asleep. So you try to compensate. You nap in the afternoon or go to bed early. Or you sleep late the next morning, or you have a couple of drinks before bed. That only makes matters worse. You go to bed and, without the accumulated need for sleep, you stare at the ceiling half the night Now you're even more tired and worried about the consequences of not sleeping than you were the day before -- while you're at your greatest vulnerability to irrational thought. Is this, you worry, the beginning of decrepitude?
Pretty soon, this self-defeating cycle takes on a life of its own. Under the influence of anxiety, your brain learns very quickly, without your knowledge or consent, to associate the bedroom with wakefulness. You lie down to rest and your brain goes on high alert. "It has been shown that people who have difficulty falling asleep are supersensitive to bedroom-related stimuli," explains an expert.
Five Misconceptions about Sleep
People may have misconceptions about what causes us to sleep, what occurs during sleep, how our body responds to a lack of sleep, and what function(s) sleep fulfills.
Misconception 1: Sleep is time for the body in general and the brain specifically to shut down for rest.
Sleep is an active process involving specific cues for its regulation. Although there are some modest decreases in metabolic rate, there is no evidence that any major organ or regulatory system in the body shuts down during sleep. Some brain activity, including delta waves, increases dramatically. Also, the endocrine system increases secretion of certain hormones during sleep, such as growth hormone and prolactin. In REM sleep , many parts of the brain are as active as at any time when awake.
Misconception 2: Getting just one hour less sleep per night than needed will not have any effect on daytime functioning.
When daily sleep time is less than an individual needs, a "sleep debt" develops. Even relatively modest daily reductions in sleep time (for example, one hour) can accumulate across days to cause a sleep debt. If the debt becomes too great, it can lead to problem sleepiness. Although the individual may not realize his or her sleepiness, the sleep debt can have powerful effects on daytime performance, thinking, and mood.
Misconception 3: The body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules.
The biological clock that times and controls a person's sleep/wake cycle will attempt to function according to a normal day/night schedule even when that person tries to change it. Those who work night shifts naturally feel sleepy when nighttime comes. A similar feeling that occurs during travel is known as jet lag. This conflict, set up by trying to be active during the brain's biological nighttime, leads to a decrease in cognitive and motor skills. The biological clock can be reset, but only by appropriately timed cues and even then, by one to two hours per day at best. Problems resulting from a mismatch of this type may be reduced by behaviors such as sleeping in a dark, quiet room, getting exposure to bright light at the right time, and altering eating and exercise patterns. Because humans function best when they sleep at night and act in the daytime, the task for a person who must be active at night is to retrain the biological clock (by light cues).
Misconception 4: People need less sleep as they grow older.
Older people don't need less sleep, but they often get less sleep. That's because the ability to sleep for long periods of time and to get into the deep, restful stages of sleep decreases with age. Many older people have more fragile sleep and are more easily disturbed by light, noise, and pain than when younger. They are also more likely to have medical conditions that contribute to sleep problems.
Misconception 5: A good night’s sleep can cure problems with excessive daytime sleepiness.
Excessive daytime sleepiness can be associated with a sleep disorder or other medical condition. Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea (that is, absence of breathing during sleep), insomnia, and narcolepsy, may require behavioral, pharmacological, or even surgical intervention to relieve the symptoms. Extra sleep may not eliminate daytime sleepiness that may be due to such disorders.
The Solution is Sleep All Nite Naturals - How it works
This scientifically advanced all-natural supplement contains the nutritional requirements that help the body maintain normal sleep patterns. By providing the body's natural sleep hormone melatonin, plus a collection of calming herbs, phytomedicinals and key nutrients, the body is encouraged to naturally eliminate restlessness, anxiety, as well as persistent sleeplessness and insomnia. Sleep All Nite Naturals complements the body's natural ability to support fast, safe and deep sleep - like the kind we experienced when we were children.
The ingredients contained within this formula also offer some of the factors which the body uses to make the neurotransmitter called "serotonin," which influences neurons that control such diverse activities as sleep, mood and appetite.
Sleep All Nite Naturals supplies the body the proper nutritional support, the vital and normal sleep pattern of dreaming can be preserved and indeed enhanced. Interestingly, "sleeping pills" using conventional drug therapy have proven to cause fewer and shorter periods of dreaming than found in normal sleep.*