"DEEP DREAM" SLEEP:
Rapid Eye Movement characterizes REM Sleep -
A dynamic activity that occurs MULTIPLE TIMES
throughout the night.
Until the 1950s, most people thought of sleep as a passive,
dormant part of our daily lives. We now know that our brains are
very active during sleep. Moreover, sleep affects our daily
functioning and our physical and mental health in many ways that
we are just beginning to understand.
Nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters control
whether we are asleep or awake by acting on different groups of
nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain. Neurons in the brainstem,
which connects the brain with the spinal cord, produce
neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine that keep
some parts of the brain active while we are awake. Other neurons
at the base of the brain begin signaling when we fall asleep.
These neurons appear to "switch off" the signals that keep us
awake. Research also suggests that a chemical called adenosine
builds up in our blood while we are awake and causes drowsiness.
This chemical gradually breaks down while we sleep.
During sleep, we usually pass through five phases of sleep:
stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
stages progress in a cycle from stage 1 to REM sleep, then the
cycle starts over again with stage 1.
We spend almost 50 percent
of our total sleep time in stage 2 sleep, about 20 percent in
REM sleep, and the remaining 30 percent in the other stages.
Infants, by contrast, spend about half of their sleep time in
During stage 1, which is light sleep, we drift in and out of
sleep and can be awakened easily. High quality airbed mattresses
with visco elastic memory foam comfort layers can dramatically
help to maintain sleep by preventing "tossing and turning" -
whch makes it easier to wake up before we enter deeper sleep
cycles. Our eyes move very slowly and muscle activity slows.
People awakened from stage 1 sleep often remember fragmented
visual images. Many also experience sudden muscle contractions
called hypnic myoclonia, often preceded by a sensation of
starting to fall. These sudden movements are similar to the
"jump" we make when startled.
When we enter stage 2 sleep, our
eye movements stop and our brain waves (fluctuations of
electrical activity that can be measured by electrodes) become
slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep
In stage 3, extremely slow brain waves called delta
waves begin to appear, interspersed with smaller, faster waves.
By stage 4, the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively.
It is very difficult to wake someone during stages 3 and 4,
which together are called deep sleep. There is no eye movement
or muscle activity. People awakened during deep sleep do not
adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for
several minutes after they wake up. Again, people who sleep on
air beds report feeling
"refreshed and more awake" than ever before.
When we switch into REM sleep, our breathing becomes more rapid,
irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly in various
directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed.
Our heart rate increases and our blood pressure rises. When
people awaken during REM sleep, they often describe bizarre and
Critical to staying asleep during REM
cycles is your body being "pressured with blood flow cut off" on
a poorly fitting mattress. Many people discover sleeping on an
air beds mattress allows them to stay asleep all night. The higher
quality air beds incorporate the NASA Space Agency developed "visco
elastic memory foam" padding on our air beds that allows better circulation and
improved blood flow.
The first REM sleep period usually occurs about 70 to 90 minutes
after we fall asleep. A complete sleep cycle takes 90 to 110
minutes on average. The first sleep cycles each night contain
relatively short REM periods and long periods of deep sleep. As
the night progresses, REM sleep periods increase in length while
deep sleep decreases. By morning, people spend nearly all their
sleep time in stages 1, 2, and REM.
People awakened after sleeping more than a few minutes are
usually unable to recall the last few minutes before they fell
asleep. This sleep-related form of amnesia is the reason people
often forget telephone calls or conversations they've had in the
middle of the night. It also explains why we often do not
remember our alarms ringing in the morning if we go right back
to sleep after turning them off.
Since sleep and wakefulness are influenced by different
neurotransmitter signals in the brain, foods and medicines that
change the balance of these signals affect whether we feel alert
or drowsy and how well we sleep.
Caffeinated drinks such as
coffee and drugs such as diet pills and decongestants stimulate
some parts of the brain and can cause insomnia, or an inability
Many antidepressants suppress REM sleep. Heavy smokers
often sleep very lightly and have reduced amounts of REM sleep.
They also tend to wake up after 3 or 4 hours of sleep due to
Many people who suffer from insomnia try to
solve the problem with alcohol—the so-called nightcap. While
alcohol does help people fall into light sleep, it also robs
them of REM and the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep.
Instead, it keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep, from
which they can be awakened easily.
beds mattress comfort and
body support that prevents pain or circulation problems is one
of the most important factors in determining how fast and how
long people get to these DEEP SLEEP cycles. One huge
technological breakthrough came along when the adjustable
firmness air beds mattress was originally developed for
Patients were able to get comfortable unlike anything
they experienced at home. Patients with back injuries and burn
patients got more relief on the air bed. Soon, they were being
offered commercially as "home bedroom air beds mattress models".
When the famous
NASA Space Agency developed viscous celled "memory foam" to
relieve the tremendous G-FORCES our Astronaut's experience
during launch pressures a revolutionary new mattress material
was accidentally born. When used as padding on air beds it has the unique ability
to use body HEAT along with body WEIGHT to literally "change
it's shape to match the human form", thus preventing the extra
pressure on key body areas that prevents proper blood flow out
to the skin.
Older style "flat mattresses" cannot "conform to
body shape" no matter what position people sleep in. This is a
major reason for constant 'tossing and turning' during the
night. Your body is literally "telling your brain" that blood
flow is being restricted and it's time to change position.
air beds manufacturers began combining the adjustable firmness
qualities of air beds with this remarkable memory foam as a top
"comfort layer". This unique mattress also allows two people on
the same bed to sleep at their own desired firmness level. Some
of the nicest model air beds added digital number controllers with built-in 'firmness
memory' buttons that allows them to change the air pressure any
time they wish - and instantly return to their favorite comfort
level using this memory feature.
People lose some of the ability to regulate their body
temperature during REM, so abnormally hot or cold temperatures
in the environment can disrupt this stage of sleep. If our REM
sleep is disrupted one night, our bodies don't follow the normal
sleep cycle progression the next time we doze off. Instead, we
often slip directly into REM sleep and go through extended
periods of REM until we "catch up" on this stage of sleep.
Many sleep disorders can
get relief from using air beds, and create a more restful, longer "deep
sleep cycle" experience.
People who are under anesthesia or in a coma are often said to
be asleep. However, people in these conditions cannot be
awakened and do not produce the complex, active brain wave
patterns seen in normal sleep. Instead, their brain waves are
very slow and weak, sometimes all but undetectable.
Almost any brand new mattress feels good - often for several years - but
then the poorly made beds start to form "body shaped depressions" in the
spot you normally sleep - causing your spinal cord to bend. This leads
to back pain when you wake up - this is one of the main benefits of the
new push button controller
adjustable air beds as you always control your back alignment by simply
pushing a button to add or release air pressure until you achieve
PERFECT AIR BED BACK SUPPORT SPINAL ALIGNMENT. "Sweet Dreams".