REM is probably best recognised as a big band in the 90s, but the band took their name from an important sleep cycle. REM stands for rapid eye movement and it is one of the key periods in the sleep cycle, here are some interesting facts about REM:
It is the part when the most vivid dreams occur and occupies about 15-25% of most adults sleep. Most people usually slide into REM sleep about ninety minutes after they initially drift off.
REM sleep was discovered in 1953 using continuous brain recording scans. The reason no continuous recording had been done up till then was that no one wanted to waste that much paper!
Dreams do occur in non-REM sleep but they are not as vivid or as memorable. In fact, they think that we dream in every part of the sleep cycle.
REM dreams have strange plots that seem convoluted and crazy whereas non-REM dreams will often seem repetitive and ordinary.
Funnily enough, often the eye movements that gave REM sleep its name often correspond with movements occurring in the dream. In other words, it is almost like you are watching the dream just like you watch TV.
Babies have more REM sleep than adults, leading to the hypothesis that it helps brains mature.