sleep-5-stages-borderNORMAL SLEEP CYCLE

As you rise n shine for another new day, you wonder about that dream you just had. It seemed so real and it’s not new. There’s a high speed chase and before you know it you’re doing a Thelma and Louise falling off a cliff… yikes. But whew you wake up just before you land! What does this all mean?

Well let’s find out. To get you thinking, here is the Revivelife™ Sleep Quiz:

  1. You may only have one dream a night?
  2. Girls tend to dream longer than boys?
  3. Eating stilton blue cheese just before bedtime is related to the most bizarre dreams?


To get you all your answers…Let’s start at the beginning.. when you tuck yourself in for some zzz’s you go through five sleep stages, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


During stage one or the first five to ten minutes of sleep , you are drifting off and you may experience dream-like visual images , but they won’t form a clear story. Because stage 1 doesn’t repeat itself some references refer to this as a preliminary phase but not actually a sleep phase. The next four stages repeat themselves and last for about 90-120 minutes each.


You spend about half your time in stage two which is a light sleep with Non-rapid eye movements (NREM) and slower brain waves. Your muscles are relaxed , your body temperature lowers and your heart rate slows.


During stage three and four you are also in NREM and your body’s temperature drops further, your brain waves descend to the extremely low delta frequency and your muscles relax. The body’s immune system goes to work on repairing the day’s damage. The endocrine glands secrete growth hormones, while blood is sent to the muscles to be reconditioned. In this stage, you are completely asleep.


A deeper stage of sleep with the production of delta waves. The body’s immune system and endocrine glands work their repair and production of growth hormones. In this stage, you are also completely asleep.


Dreams can occur in any of the four stages of sleep, but the most vivid and memorable dreams occur in the fifth stage of sleep where your eyes are in constant motion hence also known as Rapid Eye Motion , REM or delta sleep. The onset of REM sleep occurs about 70-100 minutes after falling asleep. In this stage, brain waves remain in the extremely low delta frequency. your blood pressure rises, heart rate speeds up, respiration becomes erratic and brain activity increases. Your involuntary muscles also become paralyzed or immobilized. This stage is the most restorative part of sleep. Your mind is being revitalized and emotions is being fine tuned. The majority of your dreaming occurs in this stage. If you are awakened during this stage of sleep, you are more likely to remember your dreams.


The sleep cycle repeats itself about an average of four to five times per night, but may repeat as many as seven times. As the cycle repeats, you will spend less time in stages 1 to 3 and more time dreaming in stage 4. In other words, it will be quicker and quicker for you to get to stage 4 each time the cycle repeats.

This is why a person can have several dreams in one night. Most people however only remember dreams that occur closer toward the morning when they are about to wake up. But just because you can’t remember those dreams do not mean that they never happened. Some people believe that they simply do not dream, when in reality, they just don’t remember their dreams.
Most people spend about two hours of every sleep cycle dreaming.


The question of whether what you eat or drink just before going to influence your sleep and dreams hasn’t been well researched. Sleep is influenced by neurotransmitter signals in your brain, so anything that affects your brain chemistry, including food, medications, nicotine , alcohol can affect your REM sleep and dreams. So far what has been determined is..
Here are some fact and myths for you.

Fact or Myth: Eating before you go to bed can help you dream?

Eating right before you go to be can increase your metabolism and increase your brain’s overnight activity, eating to dreams and nightmares. It depends what you eat. If you eat difficult to digest foods it will definitely bust your quality of sleep hence your dreams. An Australian study published in the international Journal of Psychophysiology in September 1992 showed that those who ate foods laced with tobasco and mustard took longer to fall asleep and had poorer sleep quality than normal. Two possible reasons floated by researchers included indigestion and the elevated body temperatures linked to sleep disturbances. So make sure you snack at least two to three hours before bed.

Fact or Myth: Alcohol and nicotine reduce your dreams?

They do cause a lighter sleep and prevent REM sleep, which decreases dreaming.

Fact or Myth: Cheese and Dairy Products induce better dreaming and sleep?

Research shows that ripening cheese produces chemicals that transmit signals to the brain. A 2005 study by the British Cheese Board found that the sharper the cheese , the sharper the dreams. Among 2005 participants , stilton, blue cheese was found to produce the most bizarre dreams.

Fact or Myth: Having a cup of java before be bed interferes with dreaming?

Caffeine doesn’t cause abnormal dreams, but having some before sleep may lead to a restless , light sleep in which some abnormal dreams take place.

So what are some snacks that can help you get a good night sleep ready for sleep and dreaming? Try some

  • Chamomile Herbal tea – Herbal Tea works best when taken right at bedtime to help induce sleep quickly.
  • Almonds – They contain magnesium which promotes both sleep and muscle relaxation. Try a tablespoon of almond butter or a 1-ounce portion of almonds to help your body relax.
  • Oatmeal – Oatmeal is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and potassium-nutrients known to support sleep. But go easy on the sweeteners; too much sugar before bed can have an anti-calming effect.
  • Vitamin B6 – Some references suggest using , vitamin B6 to aide conversion of serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. It also helps create norenephrine and dopamine and contributes to red blood cell formation and hormone function. Major sources include grains, cheese, eggs, fish , liver, potatoes, carrots ,spinach, peas, legumes and flour. B 6 is commonly deficient in those using the BCP, alcoholics, cirrhosis of the liver and hyperthyroidism. There is at present not evidence to suggest that B 6 supports dreams. B 6 may increase cortical arousal during REM sleep and hypothesize that this is caused by the B6 conversion of tryptophan to serotoinin . Another study and according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, it was found that B 6 supplements where associated with improved memory which may play a role in dream recall. Use caution as B 6 supplements over 1000mg/ day can cuase adverse effects such as numbness in the arms and legs and difficulty walking. The recommended dose of B 6 is up to 100mg/ day for adults.

Fat or myth: Being pregnant increases dreams ?

Elevated levels of the hormone progesterone may heighten emotions, anxiety and more frequent awakening. This can also occur pre-menstrually for some women.



Dr. Joël, ND, Inspiring Health Naturally

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