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REM vs Deep Sleep: Understand your sleep cycle



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Josh Miller / CNET

With the advent of Smart Beds Sleep Followers and Wearables of all kinds, we now know more than ever how we sleep.

If You Track Your Sleep you can check your heart rate, respiratory rate, and sleep charts each morning with information on how much light, sleep, and REM sleep you had the previous night.

But all this data only makes sense if you know what you are aiming for and what that means. So you can decode your sleep cycles so that you can make the most of your eyes.

More information: 1

2 good tips for better sleep .

What are sleep cycles?

People sleep in cycles. The best known is REM, which stands for fast eye movements because your eyes move fast during this phase of sleep. Generally, scientists and researchers divide the cycles into two broad categories: Non-REM and REM Sleep

Light Sleep

Light sleep is the beginning of your sleep cycle and the way How your body unwinds. Breathing, heart rate and muscle changes prepare your body for deeper sleep.

Slight sleep is divided into levels 1 and 2. The first level is simply the transition from awake to asleep and accounts for less than 3 percent of your nightly sleep cycles.

In Phase 2, sleep becomes easier to work. While you sleep, your brain activity slows down, but it also contains electrical activity. Neuroscientific research suggests that these leaky electrical activities are a crucial part of your brain's information transfer from short to long-term memory. Because of this, many scientists believe that sleeping after learning or learning new materials helps store information at a higher rate.

Most people spend more time in Stage 2 during long periods of sleep than at any other stage, and that's a good thing, since it's such an important part of brain health and emotional processing.

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Deep Sleep

Deep sleep is often confused with REM sleep, but the two are actually very different. Deep sleep is the part of your sleep cycle where your body recovers from the day. Your body secretes growth hormones that are related to cell repair and rebuilding.

When you get enough deep sleep, you wake up and feel refreshed. Without enough, you will feel tired, even if you have a whole night of rest.

Normally, you will notice deep sleep on your sleep monitoring devices during the first half of your night. It happens in relatively long segments, while your heartbeat and breathing slowly go down to the lowest levels.

This is also the stage of sleep when it is hardest to wake you up. Deep sleep is just as important if not more important than REM sleep when it comes to physical rest. So keep an eye on this phase as you follow your sleep patterns.

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The BeautyRest Sleeptracker records REM, light, deep and awake segments.


Screenshot by Molly Price / CNET

REM sleep

Perhaps the most famous of the sleep cycles, REM sleep is interesting and almost the stuff of science fiction. Most people experience REM sleep about 90 minutes after falling asleep.

REM sleep goes even deeper into the recovery of the brain, dreaming and processing memories and emotions. This is the sleep stage where your eyes move quickly. If you have ever caught your dog or cat in a REM phase, you will see the shooting eyes.

Your brainwaves in REM sleep are closer to waking than deep sleep, and your breathing becomes irregular and accelerates. Blood pressure and heart rate also rise to near-wake levels during REM sleep.

It is not surprising that with so much alertness at this stage, most dreams come true. Worth Knowing: In REM sleep, your arm and leg muscles are temporarily paralyzed by two chemicals in your brain that prevent you from physically exercising your dreams and slapping your partner's face rather than this alien villain.

Why It Matters

Sure, you could do just like hundreds of generations of people before us and just fall asleep without a sleep tracker and trust Mother Nature. In fact, I encourage you to do that, especially when large amounts of data about your body do not ease your mind.

However, if you are interested in sleep data, understanding and correlating your feelings with the progression of sleep can help you make informed decisions about your bedroom environment or schedule. Learn how to track your sleep rhythm .

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