Last month we looked at the importance and interesting qualities of Stages 3 and 4 of sleep. Now we’ll be talking about the most exciting part of the sleep cycle, rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep. Sleep is often described as either REM or NREM (non-REM) sleep; yet, REM sleep only takes up about one-fifth of an adult’s sleep cycle. Despite the relatively low amount of REM sleep received a night, it plays an important role in our memories and on regulating our mood. This state of sleep is best described thus: “In a wild state of psychosis, we’re dreaming, we’re flying, and we’re falling – whether we remember it or not” (Finkel, 72).
That’s right, our minds enter a state of psychosis: a mental state that includes delusions and hallucinations. It is the dreaming process that makes us go literally mad as “…we fully believe that we see what is not there, and we accept that time, location, and people can morph and disappear” (Finkel, 73). Why does our brain do this? Scientists believe that dreams are created from a chaotic firing of neurons that are devoid of significance. “It’s only after we wake that the conscious brain, seeking meaning, quickly stitches together a whole cloth out of haphazard scraps” (Finkel, 73).
There is much to say about REM sleep and dreams, but we’ll leave you with this final fun thought: “Lack of dream recollection is actually an indication of a healthy sleeper” (Finkel, 73). So, the next time you’re asked why you can’t remember your dreams, just tell them it’s a sign of a healthy night’s rest on a Wolf mattress. Sweet dreams!
Finkel, Michael. “Want to Fall Asleep? Read This Story.” National Geographic, Aug. 2018, pp.72-73.