REM – Its role in memory formation

September 3, 2022

REM sleep is a stage of sleep that occurs at the end of each night. During this time, your body goes through cycles of muscle activity and rest. Called rapid eye movement, or REM, about half your brain’s activity occurs during REM sleep.

REM plays an important role in consolidating some types of memory. It does this by shifting short-term to long term memory within the brain. Studies have shown that people who had poor quality REM, showed lower abilities to recall. important role in learning and memory consolidation. Take language for example. It requires you to not just read or write but also to understand the construct of the language. Such skills need long term memory formation.

REM sleep starts 90 minutes after you go to sleep. In the first cycle it lasts for about 10 minutes. In the next cycle, it gets longer. It total, if you get a total of 90 minutes of REM sleep, it is enough. Remember that you should get about five cycles of approximately 90 minutes of sleep each night.

During REM, the links between between brain cells and synapses are built. Scientists have shown that the brain is using both the hippocampus and cortex while we’re asleep. Your hippocampus is the seat of memory consolidation. The cortex is the outermost layer of the brain, also known as the grey matter.

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. It also results in and disturbed nocturnal REM sleep. People with narcolepsy may experience sudden attacks of falling asleep during the day. The causes of narcolepsy include a hormonal imbalance.

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