Everyone dreams, every night, whether we remember dreaming or not. We spend a third of our lives asleep in a silent nocturnal cycle! Keep reading to learn more about dreams and sleep patterns.
Dreams and Sleep Patterns
Each night when we are sleeping our bodies don’t just lie there, we go through cycles of light and deep sleep approximately every 90 minutes. The pattern is repeated about 4-6 times each night, depending on the amount of time that we have slept.
Our bodies move between NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement). We start with NREM and go through four stages before entering into REM.
The 4 Stages of NREM Sleep
Stage 1 happens as our bodies drift off to sleep are muscles become relaxed, are breathing slows and temperature and blood pressure decreases. This is a light sleep and we are easily awakened from this.
Stage 2 happens when you have made it through stage 1 and we fall into a deeper sleep. In this stage, we are known to sleepwalk or talk in our sleep.
Stage 3 your body lands in the deep sleep and is hard to be awakened from. Electrical activity emerges into the brain at this time.
Stage 4 you are sound asleep, all body functions are slowed right down at this point. Difficulty in being awakened.
REM comes when we have been asleep for about 90 minutes. We begin to go back in stages, visiting stage 3 and 2. Your eyes begin to move rapidly. This is the time when most dreams occur. Brain waves are similar to those of being awake and concentrating on something. In sleep, it is possibly a dream we are focusing on.
In this stage, our heart rate, breathing, temperatures increase and oxygen to your brain multiplies. Your body will go through sleep paralysis where all muscles except eye muscles are paralyzed. This does not always occur if you have a sleep disorder allowing for some to walk in their sleep.
During the night most of our sleep comes during Stage 4. The stage that is believed to give us the best night sleep. If we do not get enough sleep during this stage, we will wake feeling tired. The time spent in stage 3 and 4 will decrease and give you more time in REM sleep.
Morning dreams seem more real last longer than from ones earlier on in the night. Each time you return to REM sleep, it will last longer. After a good night of sleep, REM dreams last from 20- 40 minutes.
When we begin to wake, we get the same feeling of Stage 1, you may experience pressure or the feeling of drowning or waking up to the feeling your falling. This just means your mind is awake before the body. Don’t panic, just let your body wake and you will begin to move.
Many don’t recall these instances and wake without incidence. For those who do remember it may be a bit scary, but remember that it is a natural part of the sleep cycle.
Many new parents become sleep deprived and are then faced with REM deprived sleep and will probably not dream. Our sleep is disrupted by the cries of a baby. Leaving us feeling tired, frustrated, memory loss and difficulty concentrating with only NREM sleep.
When we return to REM sleep, we will probably stay in REM sleep longer to make up for lost sleep.
There are no real reasons as to why a person dreams, but many say it is to help the body with the 3 R’s. resting, repairing and rejuvenating. Some say it is to re-examine the day’s events, reduce stress and provides an outlet for emotional release.
Dreams are Important
Whatever the reason may be, dreams are important for maintaining our physical and mental health.
Are you sleep deprived and have no dreams or are you the lucky one who remembers the dream after a good nights sleep?
Have you ever wondered what your dream means? While you are here check out Dream Interpretation. Find out what some of the meanings of your dreams are. Until then, keep dreaming!!
I hope you found learning about dreams and sleep patterns as interesting as I did.