Dreams – it could be happy, scary, romantic, exciting. You could name any emotions and that might happen during your dreams. Have you ever wondered why you can remember some dreams but some you can’t recall? In order to understand why we dream, we first need to understand 5 stages of sleep cycle. This cycle lasts about 60-90 minutes and you have slept thru this cycle for about 4-5 times every night.

Stage 1 – Light sleep

This happens in the first 5 to 10 minutes after you lay down on your comfortable bed. During these 5 to 10 minutes, your breathing slow down, your muscles started to relax and you are drifting in and out of “falling asleep”. During this time, it is not unusual that you feel like falling off from a high place due to sudden muscle contractions. Some people report they feel like the phone ringing, falling off the bed or even someone called your name. Research shows that it takes 7 minutes on average for someone to fall into stage 2.

Stage 2

In this stage, you start losing awareness of your surroundings. Your heart rate slows down as well as your body temperature. This stage usually lasts about 20 minutes then you will move into the first stage of deep sleep.

Stage 3 – First stage of deep sleep

A lot of scientists referred this stage as slow wave sleep. In this stage it’s when your brain activity is at its lowest. You are completely unaware of your surroundings. It is very difficult to wake someone up during this stage. If a person is forcefully woken up during this stage, they are generally very groggy and unable to think properly.

Stage 4 – Second stage of deep sleep

This stage is when our body starting to recover. Your tissues are being repaired and for toddlers this is the stage when growth is rapidly happening. This stage lasts about 30 minutes then it will move to stage 5.

Stage 5 – REM (Rapid Eye Movement)

In this stage, your brain started to switch back on. Brain becoming more active and this is when most dreams happen. In REM, our brain activity is so active to a stage where it is almost as active as we are awake. After this we will move back into light sleep (Stage 1).We sleep thru this cycle 4-5 times every night and we do have 4-5 dreams on average per night.

So why do we remember some dreams but can’t recall some?

Everyone dreams and in fact we have 4 to 5 dreams per night on average. Research finds that REM sleep tend to be longer in the second half of the night. REM stage lasts around 30 minutes in our first 2 cycles and lasts as long as one hour in the third and fourth cycle. People who got woken up during their REM stage are likely to remember what they dream of. People generally remember the dream they had just when they get up. As the day goes on, they will likely to forget the dream during the day. Most people do not remember their dreams occurring during the first two cycles.

People woken up during NREM(Stage 2-4) are also less likely to remember their dreams and if they do it is usually related to particular emotional event known to be the key for recall while awake.

Health Tips

REM stage usually takes about 20% of our sleep each night. That is why you can’t catch up on lost sleep in one night due to the fact that you can’t sleep thru 6-7 cycles in one night. If you had lost 3 hours sleep per night last week due to the big project, it is best to add extra 2 hours each night next week so you can sleep thru all the 4 or 5 cycles to catch up on your lost sleep.

Now you know a bit more about your sleep cycle. Do everything possible to ensure you can have a healthy peaceful 4 to 5 sleep cycles each night. That way you don’t need 5 coffees just to get you thru lunch time. Happy Sleeping!

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