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  • Writer's pictureGuylaine Richer de Lafleche

REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is one of four stages in our sleep cycle. During REM our eyes rapidly move in several directions; our heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and breathing are increased and irregular; and our bodies are temporarily paralyzed due to diminished muscle tone.

REM sleep is similar to waking, however, different areas of the are brain activated. Active brain waves make this period of sleep the ripest stage for dreaming.

Typically, we enter our first cycle of REM around 90 mins after we fall asleep. Our first period of REM lasts around 10 mins and gradually increases with each sleep cycle. On average we cycle through the four stages of sleep 4-5 times a night, each cycle lasting approximately 90-120 mins long. Approximately 90-120 mins of our total nights sleep is spent in REM.

REM sleep begins in utero, perhaps around the third trimester, and proves to continue in abundance for 2-3 years of an infants life. REM gradually decreases with age.

REM sleep is a very prominent feature in the development of the brain and is absolutely crucial to our survival. All mammals have regulated states of REM sleep.

REM was discovered by Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman.

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