Wednesday, September 2, 2009

REM Sleep

“If you’re walking through the jungle and you’re tired, it might benefit you more to be hypersensitive to negative things … The idea is that with little mental energy to spare, you’re emotionally more attuned to things that are likely to be the most threatening in the immediate moment. Inversely, when you’re well rested, you may be more sensitive to positive emotions, which could benefit long-term survival.” -Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California Berkeley

A new study released now shows that REM sleep has a powerful connection to your ability to process emotions in people’s faces. The results of the study confirm that when you’ve gotten plenty of rest you’re apt to be more in tune to positive emotions, which could add to your longevity.

Another researcher describes the important role of REM sleep as a “nocturnal soothing balm.” When you reach the dream state, otherwise known as REM sleep, your brain goes through a process of reviewing the course of the day’s events and then extracting any negative feelings from your memory bank.

On the contrary, if you’re unable to reach the REM stage, you’re not able to let go of these negative emotions and instead remain in a perpetual state of anxiety.

REM sleep usually occurs within 90 minutes after you fall asleep, with the first part of it lasting 10 minutes, then increasing in duration. Once in the REM stages of sleep, your heart rate and respiration quicken, your eyes move back and forth in horizontal movements under the lids and the most vivid dreaming begins to take place.

Benefits of Getting Your REM’s
  • Boosts alertness
  • Allows your brain to store more information into long-term memory
  • Brain replenishes neurotransmitters that organize neural networks critical to remembering, learning and problem-solving
  • Helps your brain process and sift through emotions, memories and stress
  • Elevates your mood throughout the day

9 Common Dream Themes and Their Meanings

Falling: Feelings of insecurity, loss of control in an area in your life, feeling threatened by someone or a situation

Someone is chasing you: Trying to escape your fears

You wake up and your teeth have fallen out: Feeling anxious, doubting your self-image, inability to get a handle on things

Naked in a public place: Feeling vulnerable, exposed or an urge to be noticed

Ocean: Represents the unconscious and emotional energy

Train: Feeling powerful and free

Island: Seeking isolation from others, feelings of loneliness and peacefulness or needing to gain independence

Flying: Exceeding expectations, quest for freedom and outpouring of creativity

Discovering a new room in your house: Uncovering a new aspect or trait about yourself you didn’t know existed

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