On average, we spend more than two hours dreaming each night. Unfortunately, scientists still know very little about how dreams work or why they occur.
Sigmund Freud, a major contributor to psychology, believed that dreams served as a “safety valve” for the body’s unconscious drives. Since the first documentation of rapid eye movement (REM) in sleeping babies in 1953, scientists started paying particular attention to sleep and dreaming.
For the Researchers
Researchers rapidly determined that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is when the strange, out-of-the-ordinary events we call dreams often take place. Contrary to mammals and birds, most cold-blooded animals, including reptiles, do not show signs of REM sleep. So is rem sleep good?
The pons, a small area at the brain’s base, sends out signals that initiate rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The thalamus receives these impulses and relays them to the cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer that is responsible for higher-level cognitive processes including learning, reasoning, and information organisation.
In addition, the pons sends messages to the spinal cord, silencing neurons there and temporarily paralysing the limb muscles. In rare but very dangerous cases, people may start to physically “act out” their dreams if something breaks the paralysis they experience during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Someone dreaming of a ball game, for instance, would make a mad sprint for the ball, crashing into nearby furniture or perhaps waking up a sleeping companion.
Learning-related brain regions are activated during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. As a result, infants spend a far larger percentage of their overall sleep time in the REM stage than adults do; this may be an important role in healthy brain development throughout infancy.
Similar to deep sleep, REM sleep has been associated to an increase in protein synthesis. One study found that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep influences the development of certain cognitive skills. Those deprived of REM sleep showed no ability to remember what they had learnt the previous day, whereas those deprived of non-REM sleep showed some ability to remember what they had learned the day before.
· During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, our brains process vast amounts of data, most of which seems to be random and incoherent. The cortex of the brain is in charge of processing and organising sensory information when we are awake and aware. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the pons sends seemingly random messages to the cortex, and the cortex may react by trying to understand these signals, creating a “story” out of the chaotic brain activity.
· The Admittance of Caffeine After 3:00 PM Is Prohibited. Caffeine, especially if used after lunch, may impair one’s ability to relax and wind down, making it difficult to have a restful night’s sleep.
· Try to have a good attitude at all times. Certain mental health issues, such as worry, depression, stress, and others, may manifest as difficulty going asleep. Maintaining a steady emotional state and meditating regularly may assist, but if the problem is really interfering with your sleep or other daily activities, you should visit a doctor.
Make sure everything in your space is just right. Environmental factors such as noise, light, or an unsuitable bed may all make it harder to go into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may want to try upgrading your sleeping environment to one that offers you the most comfort.