Many of us think sleep is an absolute state of unconsciousness where all our organs basically go on a brief holiday. Once in a while, you may wonder what your eyes may be doing when you are slumbering away when you sleep. Your eyes are likely shut when you sleep right? Well, it may be surprising to you that while you sleep, your eyes are very active when you sleep – almost as active as your brain.
Here is something you should know about what occurs in your sleep: Rapid Eye Movement. Yes, when you sleep your brain undergoes five distinct phases. Among these is a phase called rapid eye movement sleep otherwise shortened as REM. The remaining four phases can be squeezed under the non rapid eye movement sleep.
In course of the REM phase, the eye performs many eye movements. It would astonish you that these spontaneous eye movements rank as the fastest movement made by the human body.
This REM sleep period largely occupies an estimated one-fourth of an adult’s sleep cycle and for a baby, it takes a wholesome half of its sleep cycle. Generally, as humans, we tend to drift into this REM stage within the first ninety minutes of when we start sleeping. But the sleep cycle is initiated with a non-REM phase at the starting interval. The reality is that the REM phase happens more than once in a night’s sleep.
Basically the beginning REM phase would take about ten minutes and subsequent REM phases tend to elapse longer in duration. In some cases even, a REM phase could last about 60 minutes.
The REM phase is so peculiar that many slide into momentary paralysis and are practically immobile. What happens in that period of time is that your brain transmits signals to your spinal cord to suspend any muscle activity in both your legs and your arms. This state is termed atonia.
Sometimes REM is closely connected to vivid dreams, also termed paradoxical sleep; in the sense that your brain is very active and functioning while your body and limbs are helplessly numb.
But do you know that these rapid movements of your eyes is very important to your general health? The REM stage is mostly that where you enjoy quality healthy sleep the most. REM even helps your memory, improves your pace of learning while also cleansing your mood. This is why you see that when you lack quality sleep (otherwise interpreted as when you lack quality REM), you notice you that you easily fall into bad moods and a general psychological lacklusterness. People who lack adequate rapid eye movements in their sleep also tend to become more susceptible to weight gains, as well as an increased likelihood of migraine headaches.
Therefore, now you know what happens to your eyes when you sleep, as well as how important eye movements (occurring in your sleep) are to your general well being.