REM sleep is a phase of the five-stage sleep cycle, during which rapid eye movement (REM) occurs. Typically, there are three to five REM cycles during a night's sleep, the first lasting about ten minutes and the last, before waking, up to an hour. The deepest stage of REM sleep is where dreams occur. It is necessary to cycle through REM sleep to feel rested, and experts report adults 18 and older require 1.5 to 1.8 hours of this deep sleep per night.
During REM sleep, the brain exercises neural connections crucial to overall well-being and mental and physical health. REM sleep is also considered the learning phase of the cycle, as this is when the brain integrates and processes information from the day and prepares to store it in long-term memory. Lack of REM sleep can adversely effect the brain and cognitive function.
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