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 Sleep  Holistic-online.com

The Different Stages of Sleep

REM Sleep Stage

When you enter the REM stage, your brain suddenly becomes much more active.

REM Sleep stage. Brain wave scan or EEG (Top 2 channels) shows low-amplitude, mixed frequency waves called theta waves, with some alpha waves.

Characteristics of REM State

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Brain waves are small and irregular, with big bursts of eye activity. The brain wave activity at this time resembles waking more than it does sleeping.

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The four NREM phases are characterized by progressive relaxation. But during REM phase, the body's activity perks up considerably.

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Blood pressure may increase drastically.

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Pulse rates increase in an irregular way

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The sleeper with cardiac problems faces the greatest risk of heart attack at this time.

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Breathing becomes irregular and oxygen consumption increases.

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The chin is slack during REM sleep

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The face, toes and fingers may twitch.

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A man experiences penile erections; a woman experiences clitoral engorgement.

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The sleepers' large muscles are literally paralyzed. They cannot move their torsos, arms, or legs.

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The body seems to have abandoned its effort to regulate its temperature during the REM phase.

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Shivering and sweating cease at this time, and the body's temperature drifts gradually toward the temperature of its environment.

The first REM period is usually brief. After this, the sleeper may wake up briefly. This is quite normal. A good sleeper may not remember it the next day. A poor sleeper, however, may wake up at this point and have difficulty getting back to sleep.

Next Topic: Sleep Cycle

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