What Is REM Sleep and Why Do We Need It?

Last updated on October 30th, 2023 at 04:20 pm

Sleep is fascinating. While there are some great things we can achieve in our days, there is some pretty cool stuff happening while we are snoozing. During the night, we go through four stages of sleep, one of which is REM sleep (rapid eye movement) this is a crucial part of the cycle associated with dreaming and memory consolidation. Read on to discover more about this intriguing phase of sleep and why it is so important.

What exactly is REM sleep?

REM sleep, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement sleep, is a stage of sleep characterized by rapid and random eye movements. REM sleep occurs around 60-90 minutes into the sleep cycle, during this phase of sleep, your eyes may look closed, though, behind the scenes, they are moving rapidly. Throughout the night, you will experience four to five full sleep cycles. This is the last stage of the cycle, and you experience more of it in the second half of the night. Before we dive into why this sleep is so important, let’s have a quick breakdown of the four different stages of the full sleep cycle:

1. Falling asleep –This is where your brain slows down, as do your heartbeat and breathing, and your muscles relax. This only lasts a few minutes.

2. Light sleep – Your heartbeat and breathing further slow down as you relax more and your body temperature drops, this stage lasts around 25 minutes, and you have no eye movements.

3. Deep sleep – During this stage, your body is fully relaxed, and your heartbeat and breathing are at their lowest. Delta waves are present, and your body gets to work on repairing muscles and strengthening your immune system.

4. REM sleep –This is where your eye movements become rapid, and your brain activity increases, as does your breathing and heart rate. Muscles become temporarily paralysed, this is known as your primary dreaming stage.

Why do you need REM sleep?

While every phase of sleep is important, REM has some particularly dreamy benefits. Here are some of the vital functions taking place while you are resting:


This is where the majority of your dreams take place, though don’t worry – your muscles are paralysed, so you don’t get up and act them out. Dreaming is an essential part of healthy brain development, some of them you will remember, and some of them you won’t.

Memory consolidation

This is the stage of sleep where your brain stores all the lessons and information you have collected throughout the day, so if you want an excuse for those weekend lie-ins- sleeping can make you smartie pants.

Emotional processing

During this stage of sleep, your brain processes the emotions you have experienced throughout the day, which can strengthen your emotional intelligence.

Preparing you for the alarm

REM sleep occurs at the end of the sleep cycle, activating our nervous system, which can prepare us to wake back up. This is where you are most likely to wake up from any disturbances or wiggly partners.

How to make sure you get enough REM sleep?

The more regular and deeper your full sleep cycle, the healthier amount of time you will spend in each stage of kip. Each stage is essential for your body and mind to recover and feel fully refreshed when you wake up. Here are some ways to improve and maintain your sleep cycle to keep you feeling at your best.

Stick to a bedtime routine

Consistency is key to a healthy sleep cycle. Going to bed and waking up at the same time can help regulate your sleep to ensure you move through each stage and allow your body and mind enough time to restore and take care of all the essential functions to keep you healthy.

Optimise your sleeping environment

To help you fall asleep more quickly and reduce waking in the night, it is vital to ensure you have a comfortable bedtime set up. An orthopaedic grade, breathable mattress like our Hybrid Bamboo Mattress will keep you in perfect alignment and regulate your body temperature throughout the night to keep you sleeping soundly. If you are not ready to upgrade your mattress, our HydroFoam™ Bamboo Mattress Topper provides all the support and comfort you need for a fresh, healthy kip. Our third-generation memory foam bamboo pillows will also keep your neck and back in perfect alignment, preventing movement throughout the night.

Hybrid Bamboo Mattress Pillow Lifestyle

Unwind before bed

Enjoying a warm bath or snuggling on the sofa with your favourite hot drink (caffeine-free, please) are great ways to prepare yourself for deep sleep. The more you relax and unwind before bed, the more likely you are to drift off quickly for a long, restorative kip. Put down the laptops and phones and indulge in the simple pleasure of unwinding an hour or two before you hit the hay.

Sleep is vital to your well-being, and each part of the sleep cycle has evolved naturally to keep you feeling healthy and ready to shine. From getting to bed at the same time to upgrading your mattress and pillows, every effort is worth it. As, after all, investing in your dreams starts with bedtime.


What is REM sleep?

Last updated on October 30th, 2023 at 04:20 pm

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is a stage of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements, vivid dreaming, and heightened brain activity. It is one of the key stages of the sleep cycle.

How long does REM sleep last?

Last updated on October 30th, 2023 at 04:20 pm

REM sleep episodes typically occur multiple times throughout the night, with each episode lasting around 5-30 minutes. As the night progresses, REM sleep duration tends to increase.

What happens if we don't get enough REM sleep?

Last updated on October 30th, 2023 at 04:20 pm

Insufficient REM sleep can have several consequences, including:

  • Impaired Memory and Learning: Lack of REM sleep can hinder memory consolidation and cognitive performance.
  • Emotional Disturbances: Reduced REM sleep may contribute to mood swings, irritability, and difficulty managing emotions.
  • Increased Daytime Fatigue: Inadequate REM sleep can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and reduced alertness.
  • Decreased Creativity and Problem-Solving: REM sleep deprivation may impact creative thinking and problem-solving abilities.

Sweet Dreams

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