If you’ve ever drunk alcohol, you’ll be only too aware of the fact that it can make you very drowsy. You might think, therefore, that a glass of wine or a beer before bed will help you sleep. However, how true is this? In this article, we take a look at the facts on how alcohol affects the quantity and quality of your sleep.
REM sleep behavior disorder is a type of disorder that causes unpleasant dreams and abnormal behavior while sleeping. It is particularly related to REM sleep, or rapid eye movement, which is a certain phase of sleeping. REM sleep accounts for approximately 20 percent of sleep, and is usually when a person dreams.
Most people never think about sleep cycles until they begin feeling the impact of not getting an adequate amount of sleep. In fact, there are some people who only know of REM sleep because they hear about it in movies, read about it in books, or watch shows on television that mention it. However, they have little knowledge of what it means or how different sleep cycles impact their mental and physical health and well-being.
Excessive alcohol use can wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns for a number of reasons. While some people may believe that alcohol aids in being able to sleep, it actually creates the opposite effect and can seriously disturb your sleeping patterns.
Sleep is composed of natural sleep cycles of brain activity, and is made up of two basic phases with individual stages within. These include rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
What is Non REM Sleep?
Non REM sleep occurs during the first four sleep phases, and before REM sleep, which is the final stage before the sleep cycle repeats itself. On average each stage lasts from five to 15 minutes. A typical night’s sleep is comprised of 75% non-REM sleep and 25% REM sleep.
There are 5 distinct sleep stages, with REM sleep being one of them. Most people fall into the REM sleep stage nightly, and many experience it four or five times each night.
What is REM Sleep?
REM stands for rapid eye movement, and is characterized by random, fast-darting movements of the eyes. While the amount of time you spend in REM sleep varies depending on your age, most adults spend up to 25 percent of their total sleep time in REM sleep. On the other hand, newborns spend more than 75 percent of their sleep time in REM sleep.
When you sleep every night, without you even realizing it, your brain goes through five distinct sleep phases or stages: phases 1,2,3,4, and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. You complete one full sleep cycle when you pass through all five stages of sleep. Passing through these stages usually takes approximately 90 minutes, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Let’s take a look at each individual stage, shall we?
Sleep paralysis sounds like something only seen in a horror flick. You awake from a sound sleep, only to feel like you can’t move. You attempt to move your arms, legs, and even your head, but find that you are frozen in your position. As the paralysis continues, sheer panic overcomes you. Then, as soon as it comes on, it’s over, leaving you wondering what just happened. While this experience may seem unbelievable, indeed it is a real occurrence.
And it’s more common than you might think. According to WebMD, as many as one in four of us may experience this phenomenon at one point or another.