The REM Cycle and Snoozing Science

by SKYLAR STIMSON '22

So you have heard about the REM cycle or the non-REM cycle - or maybe you haven't. Either way, I am going to explain it so you too can understand how important it is.


The first stage we start off with when we fall asleep is the NonREM cycle or the NREM. There are three stages in NREM.

  1. This is light sleeping which usually last for about 10 minutes.

  2. This is when your muscles relax and your eye movement stops.

  3. This is when you are in a deep sleep and your brain produces very slow brain waves. It is hard to wake up during this stage.

These three steps are all part of the NREM cycle and during this stage your body builds muscle, bone, and repairs and regenerates tissue. Also during this stage your immune system is becoming stronger.


After this, your REM cycle happens and this is where you have vivid dreams. You are most likely to have vivid dreams when you are younger and less as you grow older. Also in this stage you become temporarily paralyzed.


You want to wake up at the end of a sleep cycle and not in the middle of one. A nice way to find out what your sleep cycle looks like is to go to a sleep cycle calculator and find the best time for you to go to sleep and wake up.


Snoozing

It is best to avoid snoozing your alarm. You become more drowsy because whether you felt like it or not, your body was waking up the first time the alarm went off. When you go back to sleep after hitting snooze, your body then goes back into the NREM cycle and if you aren't careful, you can go back to sleep. The whole idea behind the snooze button being 8 or 9 minutes long is because the first stage of your NREM cycle is about 10 minutes long and it wants to wake you up before you go into stage two. Also soozing is constantly putting your body into an adrenaline rush and is a bad way to get your morning started.


Things to not do before bed

  • Go on electronics- the light in the phone messes with your melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep and gets you tired.

  • Consume caffeine- Drinking caffeine before bed will also mess with your melatonin production and will keep you awake.


Thing to do before bed

  • Relax- take a bubble bath, read a book, meditate, etc. all of these things are good for you and your body and will help you fall asleep faster

  • Put your phone away- putting your phone out of your room is a good idea so that your phone does not mess with your hormone production.

Bottom line

The bottom line is that sleep is very important. Now that you know the importance of sleeping and how it works, I hope this helps you sleep better.