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How much rem sleep do we need each night

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In fact, while you're getting your zzz's, your brain goes through various patterns of activity. Stage One: Within minutes sometimes even within seconds! This introduction to sleep is relatively brief, lasting up to seven minutes. Here, you are in light stage sleep, which means that you're somewhat alert and can be easily woken.

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: REM sleep vs. deep sleep and their importance for cardiovascular and emotional health - Matt Walker

Deep vs. Light Sleep: How Much Do You Really Need?

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Until the s, most people thought of sleep as a passive, dormant part of our daily lives. Fast forward 70 years and we now know that our brains are very active during sleep. Moreover, sleep affects our daily functioning and our physical and mental health in many ways that we are just beginning to understand.

Nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters control whether we are asleep or awake by acting on different groups of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain. Neurons in the brainstem, which connects the brain with the spinal cord, produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine that keep some parts of the brain active while we are awake.

Other neurons at the base of the brain begin signaling when we fall asleep. Research also suggests that a chemical called adenosine builds up in our blood while we are awake and causes drowsiness.

This chemical gradually breaks down while we sleep. During sleep, we usually pass through five phases: stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM rapid eye movement sleep. These stages of sleep progress in a cycle from stage 1 to REM sleep, then the cycle starts over again with stage 1. Children and adults spend almost 50 percent of their total sleep time in stage 2 sleep, about 20 percent in REM sleep, and the remaining 30 percent in the other stages.

Infants, by contrast, spend about half of their sleep time in REM sleep. During stage 1, which is light sleep, we drift in and out of sleep and can be awoken easily.

Our eyes move very slowly and muscle activity slows. People awakened from stage 1 sleep often remember fragmented visual images. Many also experience sudden muscle contractions called hypnic myoclonia or hypnic jerks, often preceded by a sensation of starting to fall.

When we enter stage 2 sleep, our eye movements stop and our brain waves fluctuations of electrical activity that can be measured by electrodes become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles.

In stage 3, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, interspersed with smaller, faster waves. By stage 4, the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. It is very difficult to wake someone during stages 3 and 4, which together are called deep sleep. There is no eye movement or muscle activity. People awakened during deep sleep do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes after they wake up.

Some children experience bedwetting , night terrors , or sleepwalking during deep sleep. When we switch into REM sleep , our breathing becomes more rapid, irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly in various directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed during sleep.

Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises, and males develop penile erections. When people wake up during REM sleep, they often describe bizarre and illogical tales also known as dreams. The first REM sleep period usually occurs about 70 to 90 minutes after we fall asleep.

A complete sleep cycle takes 90 to minutes on average. The first sleep cycles each night contain relatively short REM periods and long periods of deep sleep. As the night progresses, REM sleep periods increase in length while deep sleep decreases.

By morning, people spend nearly all their sleep time in stages 1, 2, and REM. Since sleep and wakefulness are influenced by different neurotransmitter signals in the brain, foods and medicines that change the balance of these signals affect whether we feel alert or drowsy and how well we sleep.

Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, and drugs such as diet pills and decongestants stimulate some parts of the brain and can cause insomnia , or an inability to sleep. Many antidepressants suppress REM sleep. Heavy smokers often sleep very lightly and have reduced amounts of REM sleep. They also tend to wake up after 3 or 4 hours of sleep due to nicotine withdrawal.

Many people who suffer from insomnia try to solve the problem with alcohol — the so-called night cap. While alcohol does help people fall into light sleep, it also robs them of REM and the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep. Instead, it keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep , from which they can be awakened easily. We lose some of the ability to regulate our body temperature during REM, so abnormally hot or cold temperatures in the environment can disrupt this stage of sleep.

It also explains why we often do not remember our alarms ringing in the morning if we go right back to sleep after turning them off. People who are under anesthesia or in a coma are often said to be asleep. However, people in these conditions cannot be awakened and do not produce the complex, active brain wave patterns seen in normal sleep.

Instead, their brain waves are very slow and weak, sometimes all but undetectable. TIP: Having a comfortable bedroom and mattress are also important for facilitating good sleep. Mattresses and beds should be comfortable for you and your bed partner.

You should also make sure your bedroom is quiet. There are a lot of changes you can make to help you get better sleep. The amount of sleep each person needs depends on many factors, including age. Infants generally require about 16 hours a day, while teenagers need about 9 hours on average. For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.

Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual. People tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter time spans as they get older, although they generally need about the same amount of sleep as they needed in early adulthood. About half of all people over 65 have frequent sleeping problems, such as insomnia, and deep sleep stages in many elderly people often become very short or stop completely.

This change may be a normal part of aging, or it may result from medical problems that are common in elderly people and from the medications and other treatments for those problems. The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. Sleep deprivation is defined as not obtaining adequate total sleep.

Insufficient sleep adversely affects how the body functions. If you routinely fall asleep within 5 minutes of lying down, you probably have severe sleep deprivation , possibly even a sleep disorder.

Microsleeps , or very brief episodes of sleep in an otherwise awake person, are another mark of sleep deprivation. In many cases, people are not aware that they are experiencing microsleeps. Many studies make it clear that sleep deprivation is dangerous. Sleep-deprived people who are tested by using a driving simulator or by performing a hand-eye coordination task perform as badly as or worse than those who are intoxicated.

Driver fatigue is responsible for an estimated , motor vehicle accidents and 1, deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Caffeine and other stimulants cannot overcome the effects of severe sleep deprivation. Although scientists are still trying to learn exactly why people need sleep, animal studies show that sleep is necessary for survival. For example, while rats normally live for two to three years, those deprived of REM sleep survive only about 5 weeks on average, and rats deprived of all sleep stages live only about 3 weeks.

Sleep-deprived rats also develop abnormally low body temperatures and sores on their tail and paws. Some studies suggest that sleep deprivation affects the immune system in detrimental ways.

Sleep appears necessary for our nervous systems to work properly. Too little sleep leaves us drowsy and unable to concentrate the next day. It also leads to impaired memory and physical performance and reduced ability to carry out math calculations.

If sleep deprivation continues, hallucinations and mood swings may develop. Some experts believe sleep gives neurons used while we are awake a chance to shut down and repair themselves. Without sleep, neurons may become so depleted in energy or so polluted with byproducts of normal cellular activities that they begin to malfunction. Sleep also may give the brain a chance to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate from lack of activity. Deep sleep coincides with the release of the growth hormone in children and young adults.

Activity in parts of the brain that control emotions, decision-making processes, and social interactions is drastically reduced during deep sleep, suggesting that this type of sleep may help people maintain optimal emotional and social functioning while they are awake.

A study in rats also showed that certain nerve-signaling patterns which the rats generated during the day were repeated during deep sleep. This pattern repetition may help encode memories and improve learning. We typically spend more than 2 hours each night dreaming. Scientists do not know much about how or why we dream. Only after , when researchers first described REM in sleeping infants, did scientists begin to carefully study sleep and dreaming.

They soon realized that the strange, illogical experiences we call dreams almost always occur during REM sleep. While most mammals and birds show signs of REM sleep, reptiles and other cold-blooded animals do not. REM sleep begins with signals from an area at the base of the brain called the pons. These signals travel to a brain region called the thalamus , which relays them to the cerebral cortex — the outer layer of the brain that is responsible for learning, thinking, and organizing information.

The pons also sends signals that shut off neurons in the spinal cord, causing temporary paralysis of the limb muscles. A person dreaming about a ball game, for example, may run headlong into furniture or blindly strike someone sleeping nearby while trying to catch a ball in the dream. REM sleep stimulates the brain regions used in learning. This may be important for normal brain development during infancy, which would explain why infants spend much more time in REM sleep than adults.

Like deep sleep, REM sleep is associated with increased production of proteins. One study found that REM sleep affects learning of certain mental skills. People taught a skill and then deprived of non-REM sleep could recall what they had learned after sleeping, while people deprived of REM sleep could not.

The cortex is the part of the brain that interprets and organizes information from the environment during consciousness. The SCN rests in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus , just above the point where the optic nerves cross. Light that reaches photoreceptors in the retina a tissue at the back of the eye creates signals that travel along the optic nerve to the SCN.

Signals from the SCN travel to several brain regions, including the pineal gland , which responds to light-induced signals by switching off production of the hormone melatonin.

Understanding Sleep Cycles: What Happens While You Sleep

Some people require a solid twelve hours of sleep a night, while others are happy with a three hour nap. The amount required is completely dependent on who you are, and tends to be between four and eleven hours each night. However, there are two different types of sleep deep and light and you should really be getting over a certain amount of the deep kind. MORE: Why you should have a lie in on the weekends.

Waking up tired, angry, or cranky? By tapping into your nighttime heart rate and movement patterns, these devices will be able to estimate how much time you spend in light, deep, and rapid eye movement REM sleep. Pretty cool, right?

There are five stages of sleep that rotate between non-rapid eye movement NREM and rapid eye movement REM and include drowsiness, light sleep, moderate to deep sleep, deepest sleep, and dreaming. Experts have recommended that adults gets about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. New research aims to identify not just how much total sleep you need — but also how much of each stage of sleep you need. Sleep stages 1, 2, and REM consist of light sleep, while 3 and 4 comprise deep sleep.

Sleep Needs

That being said, most of us have different sleep phases each night. Most people would attribute the quality of their rest to what kind of sleeper they are. This brings us to light sleep vs. Meanwhile, proclaimed deep sleepers could sleep through a screaming baby using a jackhammer. But everyone experiences both light and deep sleep in their circadian rhythm. So what does this mean and what exactly is the difference between the two? Light sleep and deep sleep are two different stages of sleep that everyone experiences. Each sleep stage serves an important role in regulating your circadian rhythm so that you feel well-rested in the morning.

How Much Deep, Light, and REM Sleep Do You Need?

According to the National Sleep Foundation , research shows that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. But other findings suggest that the type of sleep we get is more important than the duration of our sleep. When we sleep, our body goes through five specific stages as noted by he National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Each stage cumulates to REM rapid eye movement sleep, and then restarts, completing one cycle.

Your brain is very active during REM sleep and it is when the most vivid dreams occur. As a precautionary measure, your brain also sends signals to immobilize your arms and legs in order to prevent you from acting out your dreams.

The average person spends around a third of their life asleep. In this time, our bodies are able to replenish energy stores and make repairs, while our minds organise and store the memories of the day before. The amount of sleep you need depends on your age, sex, health and other elements, and sleep cycles change as we grow older.

Sleep Basics

Over the course of a night, you spend approximately 25 percent of sleep in REM phase. Instead, periods of REM are interspersed among the other stages of sleep as you move through a series of sleep cycles. It typically takes about 90 minutes of sleep to arrive at the first REM period. The first stop of the night in REM sleep is brief, lasting roughly five minutes.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Impact of Sleep on Health Video -- Brigham and Women's Hospital

Sleep is an important part of your daily routine—you spend about one-third of your time doing it. Quality sleep — and getting enough of it at the right times -- is as essential to survival as food and water. Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells neurons communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake. Everyone needs sleep, but its biological purpose remains a mystery.

What Is Deep Sleep and Why Is It Important?

Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more. Ah, sleep. Experts say 7 to 9 hours per night is the sweet spot — and while this sounds easy enough in theory, the reality is that life work, errands, happy hour, family time can easily get in the way of that necessary shut-eye. After all, sleep is more than just a luxury — it plays a crucial role in helping your body function at its best. And not all sleep is quality sleep, either. During the night, your body cycles through four stages of sleep.

Jan 29, - For an average adult over 18, they'll typically require to 9 hours sleep per night, which should include to hours of deep sleep. More.

How much sleep do we need and why is sleep important? Most doctors would tell us that the amount of sleep one needs varies from person to person. We should feel refreshed and alert upon awakening and not need a day time nap to get us through the day. Sleep needs change from birth to old age. Learn more about the importance of sleep and understanding the sleep stages.

Sleep Health

When you sleep, your body rests and restores its energy levels. However, sleep is an active state that affects both your physical and mental well-being. A good night's sleep is often the best way to help you cope with stress, solve problems, or recover from illness. Vivid dreams tend to occur during REM sleep.

The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort! But even minimal sleep loss can take a substantial toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.

You may have heard that adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.

Our bodies require sleep in order to maintain proper function and health. In fact, we are programmed to sleep each night as a means of restoring our bodies and minds. Two interacting systems—the internal biological clock and the sleep-wake homeostat—largely determine the timing of our transitions from wakefulness to sleep and vice versa. These two factors also explain why, under normal conditions, we typically stay awake during the day and sleep at night. But what exactly happens when we drift off to sleep?

Until the s, most people thought of sleep as a passive, dormant part of our daily lives. Fast forward 70 years and we now know that our brains are very active during sleep. Moreover, sleep affects our daily functioning and our physical and mental health in many ways that we are just beginning to understand. Nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters control whether we are asleep or awake by acting on different groups of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain. Neurons in the brainstem, which connects the brain with the spinal cord, produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine that keep some parts of the brain active while we are awake. Other neurons at the base of the brain begin signaling when we fall asleep.

Slow wave sleep, also called deep sleep, is an important stage in the sleep cycle that enables proper brain function and memory. While most adults are aware that they should aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, the science of sleep is quite complex. The two main categories of sleep are called rapid eye movement REM sleep and non-REM sleep, and each has important stages.

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