woman using tricks to sleep better

While it’s common knowledge that “REM” stands for “Rapid Eye Movement” and is associated with dreaming, most people don’t understand how REM sleep actually informs their dreaming experience. The answer to what REM sleep is and how it affects your dreams may surprise you! 

Short-Term Memories & REM Sleep

As you go through your day, you encounter lots of information that seems very important in that moment but serves no long-term function. Think of it like a box from Amazon: It was important at the time because it was used to transport your new mustache comb or egg protector, but now that you have already emptied it you can safely place it in the recycling bin. A good example of this would be information such as where you parked your car or the name of your server at a restaurant. That sort of thing is good to know at the time but does nothing to help you a year later. This type of information is stored in a section of your brain called the hippocampus. If your brain was a computer that part would be your RAM.

When you enter REM sleep, your brain will sort through these memories and pare down the ones that aren’t particularly useful, moving the memories that are either immediately important (like the progress you made after practicing your guitar) or have repeatedly encountered (the name of your next-door neighbor) into long-term storage. There are even a few theories about dreaming being the result of your brain inspecting some of these hippocampus-based memories and trying to relate them to past experiences to determine their overall importance.

Long-Term Memories & REM Sleep

Most people who have worked and practiced to learn a skill have had the experience of dreaming about the skill they are trying to learn. This has been researched quite a bit and the results are fascinating. As far as your brain is concerned, it doesn’t actually matter whether you are really practicing the skill or dreaming about it: You will make progress through both performing the action in real life as well as “practicing” during your REM sleep cycle. This seems to be especially true of anything that is heavy on your motor cortex, like playing a musical instrument or juggling.

In fact, there is one machine Delarkin uses in our mattress factory that we half-jokingly say people learn during REM sleep. The fact is, out of all of the people that have been trained to use it, every single one of them went home frustrated by their inability to do it one day and then came in the next able to operate it proficiently. Is this just a coincidence, or is it linked to the broader theory that REM sleep cycles are linked to your memories?

REM Sleep & Delarkin Mattresses

Whether you’ve experienced this phenomenon or not, one thing is certain: You won’t enter an REM sleep cycle without first having maximum comfort and relaxation. At Delarkin, our team creates custom mattresses designed with ultimate comfort in mind, allowing our customers to experience a restful, refreshing night’s sleep. Start getting the peaceful night’s sleep you deserve by shopping Delarkin’s custom mattress selection today! Who knows: You might just learn something new with every REM sleep cycle you experience on your new mattress.