Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the stage in your sleep cycle when most dreaming occurs. During REM sleep, you enter sleep paralysis, your eyes move back and forth, breathing becomes irregular, blood pressure and heart rate rise, brain activity increases, and you might even become sexually aroused. If you've ever noticed someone twitching and breathing erratically when they are asleep...this is a REM state.
Understanding REM sleep was vital for me in learning how to lucid dream. Once I learned what REM felt like and, more importantly, when it occurred, I was able to have three times as many lucid dreams as I had before. Don't overlook this article, I'll show you how to use REM sleep for lucid dreaming.
Gray = non-REM, Black = REM
Every night, you enter different stages of light and deep sleep, also known as non-REM sleep. The deeper the sleep, the more your body is resting and rejuvenating. The lighter the sleep, the more alert you are.
REM is the lightest sleep state and also when you experience the greatest increase in metabolic activity. Because of this, it is also known as paradoxical sleep. Paradoxical because you are asleep, yet in a state of increased activity and awareness just as if you were awake.
REM cycles start about every 90 minutes throughout your sleep cycle. The length of each cycle increases as the night goes on. Therefore, the second half of the night is when most dreaming occurs.
The 2-2.5 hours we spend in REM sleep each night is crucial for memory consolidation and dreaming. Without it, we would go insane.
Several lucid dream techniques require basic knowledge of when REM sleep occurs and how long it lasts. Now that you possess this information, pick out a technique below and give it a try:
The chemicals that affect the state and function of your brain are called neurotransmitters. Food, drugs, supplements, etc. all effect the levels of these neurotransmitters, which ultimately relates to how well you function, how tired or alert you feel, and how well you sleep.
There are two neurotransmitters in particular, serotonin and acetylcholine (ACh), that I like to experiment with for lucid dreaming...with great results. Here are the supplements that I use:
Here are the most important tidbits about Rapid Eye Movement sleep: