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What happens during REM and NREM sleep?

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Sleep is a vital part of children’s development, whether they are a baby or at school but what is REM and NREM sleep? When they are asleep, their body and brain are actively growing and developing. During sleep, the body releases growth hormones which help the baby’s muscles, bones, and organs to grow and develop properly.

You can have a read of the ‘Benefits of Sleep’ in my blog here.

Additionally, sleep plays a crucial role in the development of the brain. While a baby is asleep, their brain is forming new neural connections and strengthening existing ones. This is important for cognitive development, including memory, learning, and problem-solving skills.

What is REM and NREM sleep?

There are two main types of sleep: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep.

Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM)

NREM sleep is the first stage of sleep, and it’s the deepest stage of sleep. During this stage, your child’s body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. NREM sleep is important for physical growth and development, so it’s crucial that your child gets enough of it.

This sleep tends to be during the first part of the evening and sleep in this stage can last for 2-3 hours and is unusual for us to make up throughout it (or it is pretty hard to wake someone up!)

Rapid Eye Movement (REM)

REM sleep, on the other hand, is the stage of sleep where dreaming occurs. During REM sleep, your child’s brain processes emotions and memories, and it’s essential for their mental health and well-being. t’s also during NREM sleep that your child’s brain processes information from the day before, consolidating memories and learning skills. REM sleep is also important for learning and creativity, as it allows the brain to make connections and solve problems. However, if your child doesn’t get enough REM sleep, they may experience mood swings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

During REM sleep you may also see your child become a little more noisy when they learn a new skill. This is because they are practicing their new skill in their sleep! As always, make sure you follow guidance from the Lullaby Trust to support safer sleep.

If your little one is still struggling to sleep, please get in touch.  Book a free, no obligation call and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep.

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