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Difference Between Deep Sleep and REM Sleep

All sleep is not the same. Deep sleep and REM, for instance, are two different forms of sleep which are often confused with one another. Each of these is a different stage of sleep, have specific characteristics. There are basically five stages of sleep. Deep sleep and REM are stages three and four of the sleep cycle.

REM Sleep

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is the deepest stage of sleep. As the name suggests, the irises of your eyes move rapidly during this stage. It is the fourth stage of sleep. This happens approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep. Your heartbeat is faster and irregular during this stage. Your body is largely inactive during this sleep.

REM sleep has intense brain activity. You experience vivid and active dreams. This sleep restores your brain and is good for your memory and learning. You can experience about three to five periods of REM sleep each night and each period lasts about 10 minutes, with the last one going up to an hour.

Stage 3: Deep Sleep

Deep sleep is often confused with REM sleep but there are differences between the two. This third stage of sleep is non-rapid eye movement sleep.  Your body can enter this stage about half an hour or 45 minutes after falling asleep.

Unlike REM, deep sleep is associated with changes in the body rather than the brain. Your breathing is slow and heartbeat is regular. Your muscles are relaxed and you sleep through external noises. This form of sleep is very important as the body heals itself during this period – replaces cells, builds muscle tissue, and heals wounds. There are normally no dreams during this sleep. You feel disoriented when you wake up from this sleep. Deep sleep can last between 1-2 hours which is a quarter of your sleep time.

If you want to understand your sleep habits better, you consult one of our sleep specialists in the New York Metro area


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