Tips for great sleep

What is REM Rebound Sleep

July 11th, 2016

I noticed that I’m going into REM shortly after I fall asleep. Is this possible and, if so, should I be concerned?

S+ Answer:

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

REM, like all other stages of sleep, is a biological necessity. When we don’t get enough REM, our brain will compensate by promoting REM whenever possible. This is called REM rebound.

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.

* ResMed recorded and analysed 2,000,000 nights of sleep in the development of S+

** Users with average sleep scores between 50-60 improved their sleep by an average of 44.71 minutes per night after one week of use.

*** Below average users are those with an average sleep score below 75. Poor sleep is defined as an average sleep score between 50-60. Very poor sleep is defined as an average sleep score between 30-50. Users with average sleep scores between 30-50 improved their sleep by more than 70 minutes per night after one week of use. Aggregate S+ user data as of 03/19/2015. All data is derived from a sample size of [5932] users as of 03/19/2015. Your results may be different.

Note: S+ is not a medical device. If you are seeking information on how to treat a sleep disorder, you should talk to your healthcare provider.