02.03.2015
The connection between REM sleep and learning would also explain why infants speed more time in REM sleep than adults. During NREM, the brain waves on the electroencephalographic (EEG) recording are typically slow and of high voltage, the breathing and heart rate are slow and regular, the blood pressure is low, and the sleeper is relatively still. Believe it or not, the brain regions associated with learning are stimulated during this stage of the sleep cycle. Infants can spend up to 50 percent of their sleep in the REM stage, while adults spend only about 20 percent in REM sleep. A sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes moving from light sleep in stage one to deep sleep in stage four.


Studies have even shown brainwave patterns in REM sleep to be similar to that recorded during times the body is awake. During these first four stages, also called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, there is very little activity and our eyes generally do not move.
One study showed that people taught a skill and then deprived of non-REM sleep could remember what they had learned after sleeping, but those who were taught that same skill and deprived of REM sleep had no recall. The fifth stage of sleep is known as rapid-eye movement or REM sleep, and this is where things get interesting. REM sleep is characterized by rapid, low-voltage brain waves, irregular breathing and heart rate and involuntary muscle jerks. About 80% of sleep is NREM sleep.


If you sleep 7-8 hours a night, all but maybe an hour and a half is spent in dreamless NREM sleep.



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