I noticed that I’m going into REM shortly after I fall asleep. Is this possible and, if so, should I be concerned?
Yes, it’s possible to fall asleep directly into REM sleep. This tends to occur in certain situations, usually when we’re sleep deprived and not getting enough REM sleep in general.
We need REM
It’s thought that this phenomenon is a way for our bodies to tell us to get more uninterrupted sleep. REM rebound tends to affect those who constantly disrupt their sleep schedules, due to work, travel, or other needs.
Short on REM sleep
We usually run into REM rebound sleep when we’ve only had four hours sleep or less the night before. If we then lie down to take a nap, our brain will shift immediately into REM sleep before fulfilling its needs for Deep and Light sleep.
In extreme cases, such as those brought on by sleep-deprivation torture, people will start hallucinating and experiencing REM-like dreams with their eyes open!
Unfortunately, there is no way to “cheat” your brain into dealing with less REM. The REM rebound pattern will continue until one’s sleep debt is paid off – a process that can last as long as month.
Too much REM
It’s worth noting that some people do suffer from what’s known as Excessive REM Sleep, and that intrusion of REM into the early part of one’s sleep cycle could be a sign of this condition. However Excessive REM Sleep is usually a symptom of a larger health condition, such as depression or narcolepsy. If you sleep for more than 10 hours a night and much of it is REM sleep, this may be a sign that it’s time to seek a professional opinion.