What Is REM Sleep?

There two main types of sleep, or ways of sleeping. The first is Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and the other is non-REM. It’s during REM sleep that we dream, although only about 25% of our time sleeping is spent in this state.

What does REM stand for?

REM, also known as paradoxical sleep, stands for Rapid Eye Movement. It is a phase of the sleep cycle in which the eyes move rapidly, muscle tone falls and dreams are much more detailed.

We spend the majority of the night sleeping in the non-REM state, which itself can be broken down into four distinct stages.

The stages on non REM sleep are:

Stage One:

This first stage of REM sleep lasts for five to ten minutes, beginning when you first start to feel drowsy and sleepy. During stage one, you can be easily ‘woken’ up or brought to attention with a touch or sound. In fact, most people when snapped out of stage one of non-REM sleep probably wouldn’t even say that they even fell asleep. Nevertheless, stage one represents the first part of falling asleep—we all have to go through it to reach the next stage of sleep.

Stage Two:

10 or 15 minutes in, you enter stage two: light sleep. Your eyes, which in stage one were moving slowly under your eyelids, now stop moving altogether. Also, your heart rate slows down and body temperature decreases. The next two stages of sleep can be grouped together.

Stages Three & Four:

Stages three and four can be considered deep sleep. Once you’ve reached these stages of sleep, you will take a little while to wake up properly if shaken or called. You’ll tend to feel groggy and disoriented for a moment before readjusting to normal consciousness.

After 70-90 minutes, you enter REM sleep.

Your eyes will flicker and dart rapidly in different directions during this time, while your breathing becomes more rapid, shallow and irregular. You have between three and five episodes of REM sleep each night—after each one ends, the sleep cycle repeats itself until you finally wake up in the morning. That is, if you don’t suffer from insomnia, or disturbed sleep.

Later on you’ll see how special techniques and tactics can be used to help you transition more easily and effectively into stage one of sleep, to stage two and onwards, into an interrupted set of cycles until the morning time.

Before we get to that, though, we need to examine the different kinds of insomnia a little closer. It’s by doing this that will allow you to determine what kind of insomnia you suffer from and, as a result, what could be the best methods of improving your personal issues getting to sleep and  staying that way until morning. Here are the causes of insomnia.