What is REM Rebound? - Definition & Effect

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  • 0:00 Sleep Deprivation
  • 0:36 REM Sleep
  • 1:37 REM Rebound
  • 2:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Duane Cloud

Duane has taught teacher education courses and has a Doctorate in curriculum and instruction. His doctoral dissertation is on ''The Wizard of Oz''.

Sleep deprivation is a pervasive problem in our society. Since sleep is often considered an unfortunate necessity, people often don't get enough of it. REM sleep in particular is important for a person's health and well-being. The body has developed a way to deal with periods of REM deprivation, called REM rebound.

Sleep Deprivation

In our fast-paced world, many people consider sleep to be a waste of time and only get the bare minimum. However, sleep is an important part of a healthy person's life. People need sleep to be at their best, mentally and physically. One important part of the sleep cycle is REM sleep. When someone hasn't gotten enough REM sleep, they can suffer the effects of sleep deprivation, including mental fatigue, hunger, and increased stress. When people experience sleep deprivation, their bodies have a way to help them to achieve REM sleep quicker. We'll explore this a little bit later in the lesson.

REM Sleep

First, let's discuss REM sleep in its normal context as a function of a person's sleep cycle. REM stands for rapid eye movement, and during REM sleep, people often dream. It is unknown whether or not the eye movements are directly tied to dreaming, such as trying to follow the visual cues encountered in a dream, or whether there is a different process at work. It is known, however, that people blind from birth engage in rapid eye movements, despite the fact that their dreams generally have no visual input. People do have dreams outside REM sleep as well, so the two processes aren't precisely the same.

In mammals, REM sleep functions as an important stage of sleep in terms of feeling rested upon waking. It is possible to get by without REM sleep, such as during a short daytime nap. However, the body recovers best when allowed to establish a pattern of regular sleep and wakefulness. A lack of good REM sleep is associated with a variety of symptoms, from mental fatigue, migraines, and sensitivity to pain.

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