Are you feeling irritable? Trouble concentrating? Feeling trapped? Can’t remember your dreams? If so, you may not have enough REM sleep.
Every night we go through five different stages of sleep. A cycle of five stages usually lasts 90 minutes, but each stage of sleep can vary in time, depending on the person. We dream during the fifth stage, called rapid eye movement (REM).
That dream of flying, or being chased, or realizing you’ve forgotten your locker combination, or wearing pants may be your brain’s way of releasing unprocessed feelings related to recent events in your life.
New neurological studies suggest that dreaming in REM sleep may be necessary for mood regulation and memory recall, meaning that lack of dreams could affect your overall performance over time.
Interestingly, the drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease produce more REM sleep, suggesting a link between dreams and memory function.
People who don’t dream at all or not enough can be irritable and have difficulty concentrating, affecting their work and relationships.
Another study found that people with depression and anxiety tend to have more REM sleep than average and not get enough sleep, which may be why they wake up exhausted every morning.
While deep sleep helps boost the immune system and restore energy levels, REM sleep can help us have better focus and a more even temperament.
Therefore, it appears necessary to get the correct amount from all stages of sleep to maintain physical and mental health.
Not surprisingly, modern life causes disturbances in both the quality of sleep and the amount of sleep we get.
Alcohol, stimulants, cannabis, stress, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, computer screens, certain types of antidepressants, and poor sleep habits all help to inhibit REM sleep and dreams.
Many people report an increase in dreams or nightmares when quitting drugs, sleeping pills, medications, or alcohol, as the brain readjusts to normal sleep cycles.
Hypnotherapy is a method of intentionally inducing the REM sleep cycle in a controlled manner and environment, such as in lucid dreaming, allowing you to process and discharge underlying feelings that may be sabotaging.
A good hypnotherapist acts only as a guide. Sometimes the guided interactive images are even based on characters from your dreams.
However, unlike dreams or drugs, in Hypnotherapy you can stop the process at any time.
Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you try to wake up, move, or scream and you can’t? Since you are generally self-aware in a hypnotherapy session, you still have the ability to open your eyes at any time.
So if you have trouble concentrating, feel stuck, or feel like something is bothering you but you can’t identify it, perhaps learning what you can do to have more dreams in REM sleep could be the answer.