Is There a Connection Between Dreaming and How Restful Sleep Is?
Posted by Elebra on 5/11/2012

In order to discover if our dreams have any impact on the benefits of sleep, we have to learn about the sleep cycle itself. This is quite interesting because it involves both the mind and the body.

For example, when we sleep the brain goes through four stages of REM, short for Rapid Eye Movement. It begins with the body, where muscles relax and drift into sleep. The body then begins to act a bit differently and may even seem like it is paralyzed as the brain enters into the second and third phases of REM. During the second and third stages, scientists note that regular brain functions shift a bit (EEG machines show similar but not identical brain waves as those during wakefulness). This is a period of time when it is known that the body does a lot of "healing and maintenance". This too is when truly restful sleep occurs, but it "comes and goes" in waves of roughly thirty minute cycles.

The dreaming stage of REM, the fourth stage, is what happens between those sequences. This is when eye movement is noticed, when the breathing rate increases, and when brain activity seems to spike on an EEG. This is a period when the bodily process and the brain are their most active, but when muscles are more relaxed and voluntary muscles are often paralyzed.

The important issue here is that the body follows the stages in order: slipping into sleep at stage one and passing through stages two and three before a dreaming cycle occurs. The next stage is usually stage two again as the body once again enters into the dreaming state. This happens around four times per night when sleep is "normal" and "healthy". So, if you are dreaming, you have passed through the right phases of sleep, and that indicates that there is a connection between dreaming and restful sleep because your body is behaving correctly.

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical or any other type of advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you.

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