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What is REM and Slow sleep and how to sleep properly?
What is REM and Slow sleep and how to sleep properly?

While dubious gurus are broadcasting that you can get enough sleep in just a couple of hours, we decided to take the side of common sense and tell why a sound long sleep is so important and how to improve its quality.

What is REM and Slow sleep and how to sleep properly?

Many have heard that sleep is divided into slow and fast phases, but not everyone knows what they are. Today we will talk about what REM and Slow sleep means, what features each phase has, and what meaning they have for a person.

Sleep is studied by a branch of medicine called somnology. Somnologists analyze the activity of the brain and physiological reactions during sleep using special devices. One of the leading methods is polysomnography - a comprehensive study of a patient's sleep, in which the equipment registers the frequency and depth of breathing, muscle contractions, body position, transmission of nerve impulses, heart function and many other parameters. As a result, a hypnogram is obtained - a graph reflecting information about the structure of sleep, including the quality of REM and NREM sleep.

How do you know if sleep is slow or fast?

Experts have an effective tool with which it is easy to distinguish between REM and NREM sleep - this is an electroencephalogram. It is very difficult to understand whether it is slow or fast sleep without special devices. Most likely, if a person moves their arms or legs, they are in REM sleep. During slow wave sleep, body temperature drops, breathing slows down, muscles are relaxed.

What is REM sleep


REM sleep is a phase during which the information received during the day is processed. Studies have shown that in REM sleep, brain activity is almost the same as during wakefulness. REM sleep is important for forming memories and reinforcing skills.

How do you know if you are sleeping fast?

REM sleep can be determined by eye movements and shortness of breath. A person in REM sleep can move their arms. Body temperature and heart rate during this period are unstable and can range from low values ​​to high values.

How long does REM sleep last

Normally, REM sleep takes 20-25% of the total sleep time. It occurs about an hour and a half after falling asleep and then repeats every hour and a half, each time becoming longer. Especially long REM sleep is observed in the morning hours.

What does slow sleep mean


Slow sleep is a phase during which physiological rest and tissue regeneration occurs. It is at this time that the brain is "recharged", the structuring of memory.

How to tell if sleep is slow

A person who is in slow wave sleep has a decrease in blood pressure and body temperature. The muscles are relaxed, breathing becomes less frequent.

How long does slow sleep last

Normally, slow-wave sleep takes 75% of the total sleep time. It is divided into three stages, which scientists designate as N1, N2, N3.

N1 (shallow sleep) is a transitional stage between falling asleep and waking. During this phase of slow wave sleep, phenomena such as a hypnagogic jerk (a feeling of falling and startling when falling asleep), visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations, sleep paralysis, sleepwalking, and drowsiness may occur.

N2 - the body temperature decreases, the muscles relax, the person is completely disconnected from reality. Normally, N2 slow-wave sleep takes half the time of total sleep and occurs in intervals of about 20 minutes.

N3 is a deep sleep, during which blood pressure decreases and breathing becomes infrequent.At this stage, body tissues are restored, hormones are produced and metabolites are excreted. The brain, meanwhile, is engaged in "archiving" memories of events, moving them from short-term memory to long-term memory.


How to increase slow sleep

With a deficit in slow wave sleep, the body's resistance decreases, immunity decreases and brain activity slows down. It is more difficult for you to concentrate even on the usual tasks, lethargy and anxiety arise. Disruptions in the work of the endocrine system and the production of hormones may occur. A shortened phase of slow wave sleep also increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and vascular disease. Obviously, in order to maintain health, it is necessary to maintain a normal duration of this phase of sleep. Read on to learn how to increase slow sleep.

1. Scheduled Sleep

If you have too short NREM sleep, take up your regimen. Getting up and falling asleep at the same time is definitely a healthy habit.

2. Movement is life

Move more throughout the day (just not before bed!). This will allow the brain cells to receive more oxygen, and this will help to establish biological rhythms.

3. No caffeine

Avoid invigorating drinks in the evening. Drink a soothing herbal tea before bed.

4. Neither cold nor hot

Provide a comfortable sleeping temperature in the room. Ventilate the room regularly.

5. Put your phone down

Gadgets have a bad effect on sleep quality. An hour and a half before leaving for Morpheus, move your smartphone away, do not watch TV or use a computer.


What is the difference between REM sleep and slow sleep

The main difference between the phases of slow and REM sleep is the difference in brain activity, which is clearly illustrated by the EEG. REM sleep is characterized by frequent eye movements, and during NREM sleep they are practically absent. Dreams that we see during REM sleep are more likely to be remembered, although studies have shown that dreams are dreamed during both phases.

Why slow sleep is better than fast sleep

Both slow and REM sleep are important for the normal functioning of body systems. NREM sleep is thought to be more important for recovery. By waking a person up at this time, we deprive his brain of the opportunity to "reboot". In addition to the general poor health of the sleepless, disturbances in concentration, increased nervousness, lethargy, apathy, and irritability await. And if such deprivation of slow wave sleep occurs regularly, there are great chances to face serious mental disorders. It is better to wake up during REM sleep. By the way, numerous gadget apps can help with this.

However, do not think that REM sleep is useless and can be sacrificed without consequences. This phase prepares all systems of the body for awakening and includes the connection between physiological processes in the brain and consciousness.

Slow and REM sleep: normal

For the average person, the rate of slow sleep is 70%, and fast, respectively, 30% of the entire night's rest. The total duration of sleep, sufficient for recovery, is 7-9 hours a day.

Normally, slow-wave sleep should last about 90 minutes. This is followed by a 10-20 minute REM sleep phase. These two stages together form a cycle, which is usually repeated 5 times per night in a healthy person. The phases of slow and REM sleep are unevenly distributed. So, the first time after falling asleep, REM sleep lasts about 5 minutes, and closer to awakening, its duration reaches an hour. With slow sleep, the opposite is true - as the cycles change, it shortens.

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