Getting the requisite amount of sleep each night not only helps people function effectively, but also contributes massively to our health and wellbeing.

There is a sizeable body of research evidence that extols the virtues of sleep and the significant role it plays in the rest and recovery process.

A recent study by online casino Betway sought to resolve the mystery of which pre-bedtime activities influence how much time you spend in light, deep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. 

Light sleep is generally easily interrupted – it is effectively the stage where your body begins to relax but your mind has not completely switched off.

Deep sleep is the stage where your breathing slows and your muscles relax. Your blood pressure also drops and your heartbeat becomes more regular.

Your brain switches to offline mode during this stage, giving the body the space to repair itself from the stresses and strains of daily life.

REM sleep is the time when your brain gets its moment in the spotlight, and is the time when most of your dreams take place.

According to the author of international best seller Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker, REM sleep is also the time that best fuels our creativity.

For people who want to give themselves a creativity boost, pre-bedtime activities such as watching the news or reading a book are the best way to get the most REM sleep.

While light and deep sleep are key parts of the sleep cycle, Walker pinpoints REM sleep as the time when the brain receives the greatest benefits.

“NREM sleep helps transfer and make safe newly learned information into long-term storage sites of the brain,” Walker said.

“But it is REM sleep that takes these freshly minted memories and begins colliding them with the entire back catalogue of your life’s autobiography.

“These mnemonic collisions during REM sleep spark new creative insights as novel links are forged between unrelated pieces of information.”

For people who don’t necessarily need to be creative during the day, meditating for 30 minutes before bedtime offers the best type of sleep.

Participants in the aforementioned study spent just over a quarter of the time in light sleep, while the rest of their sleep was split equally between deep and REM stages.

However, for individuals who want to boost their creativity through REM sleep without impacting the other two stages too much, watching a comedy film before bed is the best way to go about it.

Study participants who undertook this activity enjoyed an equal amount of time in light and deep sleep, but most of their sleep was in the REM mode.

While Walker acknowledges the importance of the other sleep stages, he insists that REM sleep is crucial for anyone who wants to boost their creativity.  

“Sleep cycle by sleep cycle, REM sleep helps construct vast associative networks of information within the brain,” Walker added.

“REM sleep can even take a step back, so to speak, and divine overarching insights and gist: something akin to general knowledge—that is, what a collection of information means as a whole, not just an inert back catalogue of facts.

“We can awake the next morning with new solutions to previously intractable problems.”


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