There is nothing more fascinating, more intensely personal, and more uniquely ours then the voyages our minds and spirits take while we sleep. Our dreams can confuse us, relieve us, amuse us, comfort us, inform and enlighten us. Our sleep journeys, even the nightmares, are gifts, our allies to embrace rather then dread and worth every effort it takes to unravel their mysteries and cherish every valuable lesson and insight they have to offer us.
There are two basic stages of sleep: REM, which stands for ‘rapid eye movement’ and is the lightest stage of sleep, and Non-REM, which is the deeper sleep when eye movements and our other muscle responses become almost non existent. It is during REM sleep that we dream, and its when we are awakened during or immediately after REM that we are most likely to remember our dreams. The Non-REM stage accounts for about 75 percent of our sleep, leaving 25 percent for REM sleep. Thanks to a lot of brilliant minds, tirelessly working to advance our knowledge of how the brain works and understanding brain waves, we understand that brain waves fluctuate in approximately ninety minute cycles, while we sleep. Brain waves have been measured by the EEG, or electroencephalograph, have been charted into distinct levels for those ninety minute cycles. Beta Level: We are wide awake, active and alert. Alpha Level: We are awake but relaxed, and our eyes are closed. Theta Level: We are very sleepy or in the process of falling asleep, and usually in the REM stage. Delta Level: We are deeply asleep and in the Non-REM stage.
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