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    Thread: REM Sleep

    1. #1
      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      REM Sleep

      REM Sleep


      Rapid Eye Movement (or REM), is the phase during sleep that involves active brainwaves with literally, rapid eye movement. Note, that it is incorrect to say “R-E-M” instead of pronouncing it literally “rem”. This is also called, Paradoxical Sleep, but Western nations usually just term this “REM Sleep”.


      When Does REM Occur

      REM takes place at intervals of about 90 minutes or more post falling asleep, while first going through 4 NREM (non-REM) stages of sleep. REM usually involves brainwaves that are similar to that of one who is awake. Beta waves are usually active during REM (out of alpha, delta, or theta).

      REM usually starts out being 5 minutes long (unless there is a rebound), and they get longer as the night progresses to as long as a full hour. In a typical night’s sleep, the average person goes through at least 5 REM periods, and we wake up after each one, but are usually nearly impossible to remember.

      In fact, when someone wakes up needing to use the bathroom, they never actually wake up to go to the bathroom for we can hold it all night. Unless they are woken up by some external variable (noises, movement, etc), we only naturally wake up because a REM period has ended. However, there are times when you can wake yourself up from sleep if you are lucid in both NREM and REM.

      REM-rebound happens when someone is deprived of REM sleep, therefore, they usually occur much more quickly and last longer in order to make up for the lost time. The 1st phase of REM sleep will usually happen much quicker and last longer than five minutes, for example, depending on how much was lost.


      Dreaming

      REM sleep has been found to be often associated with dreaming. However, it is possible to dream during NREM, but the dreams are not usually vivid and may take on a 3rd person perspective. When we dream in REM sleep, we usually take on a 1st person perspective and dreaming is more vivid.


      REM Atonia

      We need something to prevent us from acting out our dreams of course. The REM atonia phase prohibits the body from acting out dreams. This happens when motor neurons in the spinal cord become inactive, leaving us unable to move or else you would probably kick your bed partner every time you have a dream that involves running. This is not to be confused with sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is simply the experience of being paralyzed while assumed to be asleep.

      Motor function is compromised due to REM atonia and the deactivated motor neurons where the brainstem and the spinal cord meet. If you think of the spinal cord (or vertebra) as the hallway that connects the brain to the rest of the body, then is would make sense that it would be impossible to move while dreaming. However, the brain can still send messages that signal respiratory or heart rate responses, which often relate to the dream. For example, an increased heart rate due to someone experiencing a nightmare.


      REM Behavior Disorder

      REM Behavior Disorder (or RBD), is a sleep disorder (more common in older males) that involves the REM atonia phase malfunctioning, resulting in the sleeper acting out his/her dreams. This is when the motor neurons are reactivated, resulting sometimes with hurting their bed partner, themselves, or destroying items on their nightstand.

      This is not to be confused with sleep walking. Sleep walking occurs in stages 3-4 of sleep, while RBD obviously takes place during REM sleep. Plus, it is abnormal to dream while sleep walking.

      Researchers knew that people suffering from RBD were acting out their dreams when their actions often correlated to what they claimed to be dreaming about.


      Purpose

      Neurologists believe that we endure REM sleep to basically “defragment your brain” if you will. This is termed “Active Sleep”. It is important in brain development which organizes memory, function, psychology, etc. Those deprived of REM sleep, have shown behavioral problems, and permanent neurological problems in more rare cases. They also found that REM sleep occurs more in infants/new-born children, and gradually decreases and maintained into adulthood.


      Power Napping/Exercise

      Those who work around the clock (fishermen, artists, etc), have found power napping to be quite helpful. This is because REM sleep is basically the sleep we really need to “recharge” as some would say. This involves being awake for a couple of hours, then getting about 30 minutes of sleep which about the last 25 minutes of it is composed of REM, and almost never getting more than 30-45 minutes.

      Note that if you plan on trying this, remember that we also have NREM rebound and it can be very difficult to wake up if you get what is called a bonus nap. A bonus nap is getting more than what is recommended.

      Exercise has been known to also increase the amount of REM sleep you get that night, which supports the theory that REM sleep is needed to regain energy.
      Last edited by louie54; 06-18-2010 at 04:41 PM.
      sol, woeisme, dakotahnok and 4 others like this.

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      Hi! Interesting post!

      I have a some questions (sorry if I get too technical :S):
      1. In order to enter the first REM phase you have to be asleep for at least 90 minutes?
      2. This changes when napping, when you enter REM phase very quickly?
      3. So if you didn't get enough REM sleep one night (too little hours or whatever), if you wake up for some hours and then take a nap will you go very fast into REM?
      4. What if you DO get enough REM sleep and after being awake some hours you take a nap? What changes?
      5. So sleep depravation can help you get to REM faster?

      Thanks!

    3. #3
      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Sorry it took so long to reply, this thread never got activity so I ignored it. To answer your questions:

      1. 90 minutes is really an estimate. I should say "around 90" minutes.

      2. This has a little bit to do with circadian rhythms and you teaching your body to get through a full cycle before waking up an hour later. In order to train your body to do this, you just have to get about an hour long nap every day.

      3. Yes.

      4. If you were awake for a short period of time, you just continue your REM cycle as normal. Remember that you do wake up after every REM period, and this happens about 5 times a night for a normal person. To answer the rest of the question, it also really depends on your own sleep schedule.

      5. Yes, and longer but I don't recommend it.

      If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask. I'm no expert, but this is what I know.
      Last edited by louie54; 05-02-2011 at 04:34 AM.

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      Awesome! Thnx!
      louie54 likes this.

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Oh lol no problem. I didn't think you would actually come back. Especially so soon after me replying.

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      One question
      If you have no sleep all night, are you likely to go straight into REM the next time you sleep?
      http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/396408_10150566595483801_642783800_8866749_4416924  85_n.jpg

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      How does REM sleep activity change when you change up the length of your day cycle? Instead of the usual 24h long day, you could do 12 or 48 hour days. How does this affect REM sleep and NREM sleep?

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mooseantlers View Post
      One question
      If you have no sleep all night, are you likely to go straight into REM the next time you sleep?
      Yes, this is called REM-rebound. If you don't sleep, you don't enter REM and your body therefore will try to make up for lost time. The more you avoid it, the worse it gets, but like I said, I don't recommend this technique to get lucid. Do it at your own risk.


      Quote Originally Posted by JussiKala View Post
      How does REM sleep activity change when you change up the length of your day cycle? Instead of the usual 24h long day, you could do 12 or 48 hour days. How does this affect REM sleep and NREM sleep?
      I'm having a hard time understanding your question. Are you asking what happens when you are awake/asleep more than usual and how it affects REM?

      If so, it really depends on you. What kind of food do you eat, if you exercise, etc will effect your REM. How much of your time spent awake doesn't have so much to do with REM as much as how much sleep you get, if that makes sense. But if you spend more time awake, and less asleep, you might get REM rebound depending on how much sleep was lost. If you spend less time awake, and more asleep, you might get more NREM.

      Does that answer your question? If not, could you please rephrase it?


      Quote Originally Posted by hznuwhx View Post
      wooow !Interesting post.

      Thank you

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      Member JussiKala's Avatar
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      Rephrased:

      People usually do 24 hour days. About 14 hours awake and 10 asleep for example.

      How would REM sleep activity change, if it even would, if one would do 48 hour days? - about 28 hours awake and then 20 asleep for example. And the person would practice this for a year. What would happen to REM? And nREM?

    10. #10
      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      I'm not so sure about that. If you had a 48 hour day, that would mean that you skipped a night of REM sleep, but then you would go back to bed of course for a few extra hours. You would likely get REM rebound the first few nights, and you will probably have a hard time getting the extra 10 hours of sleep. But your body will probably adjust itself so that it turns into a normal cycle. You might get more NREM in between REM periods, but this would take time for your body to adjust to.

      I'm not certain, so don't completely take my word for it. I can't imagine people sleeping for 20 hours every time they sleep to be honest.

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      I just might push myself over to the 48h cycle in the summer, but most likely not.

      It's a possibility I'm considering though.

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      I wouldn't myself, since it's dangerous, but I can't stop you. Just be careful.

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      Thanks for this, really interesting reading!
      DILD - 5

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      Assume that I was only able to complete 3 REM cycles. So the next time I go to sleep, will I start my cycle all over again, or will I start from the 4th cycle?

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by bakbaba View Post
      Assume that I was only able to complete 3 REM cycles. So the next time I go to sleep, will I start my cycle all over again, or will I start from the 4th cycle?
      Depends how long you were awake for. If it was only for a few minutes, or within an hour, then you go to your 4th cycle. Otherwise, you will start over.


      Quote Originally Posted by woeisme View Post
      Thanks for this, really interesting reading!

      Thanks

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      The only thing that I feel is missing is rem rebound.

      Oh and you should really put this stuff in the wiki!

      I was always a dreamer, in childhood especially. People thought I was a little strange.-Charley pride

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      Quote Originally Posted by louie54 View Post
      Depends how long you were awake for. If it was only for a few minutes, or within an hour, then you go to your 4th cycle. Otherwise, you will start over.





      Thanks
      Hey thanks for the response. I had been depriving myself of sleep so that I could 'reset' my sleep cycle because I was finding it hard to keep track of my NREM and REM cycles, but now I know there is no need to do so and now I'll stop depriving myself of sleep.

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      Quote Originally Posted by louie54 View Post
      Depends how long you were awake for. If it was only for a few minutes, or within an hour, then you go to your 4th cycle. Otherwise, you will start over.





      Thanks
      Wait... hold on. If I will start over, then what is the point of napping in advance for WILDing ?
      I read that WILDs work better with a 3-4 hour nap before hand, why is that?

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by bakbaba View Post
      Wait... hold on. If I will start over, then what is the point of napping in advance for WILDing ?
      I read that WILDs work better with a 3-4 hour nap before hand, why is that?
      They work better for WILDs when you take a 3-4 hour nap because your REM periods get longer as you sleep. I'm sorry this is getting complicated, but what I mean is that your first REM period occurs usually about an hour and a half later after falling asleep and lasts about 5 minutes. Later on when you wake up a few hours later, when you go back to sleep, your REM period will come faster and last longer because you will be on your 3rd or 4th cycle.

      If you just stay awake longer than enough for a WBTB or WILD and go about your day without going to sleep, then you may just start over your sleep cycle, unless you are really deprived then you might get a WILD when you first go to sleep. It really depends on your body, how much sleep you get. If you have really deprived yourself like you said, then you might get your WILD faster.

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      Ok This explained a lot of my experience especially the with the rebounds occurring and me sleeping in for 17 hours. So if i attempt small naps I basically will continue my sleep cycle right? So it's possible to train yourself to enter rem at a quicker pace also, because I'm desperate to find the appropriate amount of sleep for a days schedule. I'm a very physically active person and constantly train for various activities and have had constant rebounds which interfere with school on a frequent basis. So if i am able to gage myself appropriately and train myself to enter rem more quickly i wont feel exhausted throughout the day? Please tell me this is possible.

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      Thank You, this was actually very helpful. I suffer from insomnia so I feel that I'm usually deprieved of REM sleep. I'm going to try to exercise a lot more and see what happens.

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      IIRC, (our perception of) Day/Night affects our bodies, and has an effect on sleeping. So, breaking this cycle is already a challenge. Also, the body gets used to change, which can take about two weeks. However, if you are consistent for two weeks, your body should be on the new schedule, assuming you are getting enough sleep.

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      Newbie louie54's Avatar
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      I appreciate all the feedback. I'm glad to help.

      Quote Originally Posted by lilnightsky View Post
      Ok This explained a lot of my experience especially the with the rebounds occurring and me sleeping in for 17 hours. So if i attempt small naps I basically will continue my sleep cycle right? So it's possible to train yourself to enter rem at a quicker pace also, because I'm desperate to find the appropriate amount of sleep for a days schedule. I'm a very physically active person and constantly train for various activities and have had constant rebounds which interfere with school on a frequent basis. So if i am able to gage myself appropriately and train myself to enter rem more quickly i wont feel exhausted throughout the day? Please tell me this is possible.
      Because you are active, you should by default enter REM more quickly. REM is necessary to help you get your rest and charge you up for the next day. You just need to find a sleep schedule that works for you. If I didn't answer your question, could you rephrase it please?

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      Member lawilahd's Avatar
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      so what sthe difference between rem atonia and sleep paralysis, is it just that sleep paralysis is when you wake up during rem atonia? or is there something that I'm missing here

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      Quote Originally Posted by lawilahd View Post
      so what sthe difference between rem atonia and sleep paralysis, is it just that sleep paralysis is when you wake up during rem atonia? or is there something that I'm missing here
      This is a question that I've been wanting to ask Louie. I just call everything affiliated with being paralyzed when sleeping "sleep paralysis".

      I was always a dreamer, in childhood especially. People thought I was a little strange.-Charley pride

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