The REM phase is sometimes referred to as paradoxical or active sleep. Frequent eye movement characterizes this phase, which is the easiest to wake from and is also the period when dreaming occurs. During this phase, respiration can accelerate, and brain activity can increase, similar to being awake. The muscles in the arms and legs become less responsive or even completely paralyzed during this phase, which researchers believe is a way to protect the body from harming itself during dreams. The longer we sleep, the more periods of REM phase we experience.
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