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Why is it hard to fall asleep away from home?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

We've all experienced the oddness of sleeping in a strange place.

We're in a different bed, with or without our usual bed partners.

The lighting is different, the sound levels are different.

The bedding looks, feels, and smells different.

We could be exhausted from a day of traveling or attending a convention or visiting dozens of relatives at a family reunion, and yet, we know we will sleep poorly in this strange place.

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What is REM sleep?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Rapid-eye movement sleep, or REM sleep, has captured the fascination of scientists studying sleep as well as dreams.

This unique cycle in our sleep architecture has a form and function distinct among the other “nonREM” stages of sleep.

We cycle through all the stages of sleep in a progression from the beginning (stage 1 nonREM) to the end (REM sleep) several times over the course of the night (see the chart below).

Adults spend between 20 and 25 percent of the night in REM sleep, while infants spend nearly half their sleep time in this stage.

In fact, it was while measuring the eye patterns of sleeping infants that REM sleep was first discovered.

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