Is it unusual to go directly from Wake to REM?
Generally, when we are not sleep deprived, we tend to fall first into Light Sleep, followed by repeating patterns of Deep sleep, Light sleep, and REM. We move through these cycles throughout the night, with increasing levels of REM in each cycle.
But if you are moving from waking to REM often, this could be a sign of REM deprivation, which is usually caused by general sleep restriction, like getting less than 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Because most of our REM sleep comes towards the end of the night, it is the sleep stage that is hit the hardest when we restrict our sleep to less than seven or eight hours. When the body does not get enough REM sleep, or when REM sleep is interrupted, it pushes for REM more often, including short naps, falling asleep at the wheel, and when going to bed at night. This effect is called REM rebound. If you’re sleeping less than the recommended 7-8 hours a night, it’s likely that this pattern will cease once you start getting more, less interrupted, sleep.
That said, depression can also result in long sleeping sessions with many REM periods characterized by negative dreams. Excessive REM is also a symptom of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that is marked by constant fatigue, unwanted falling asleep during the day and sudden bouts of muscular paralysis.
Finally, some pharmaceuticals could be affecting your sleep cycles, including prescription medication for ADHD and depression. If you are currently on these kinds of medication, and you suspect that it’s affecting your sleep, you may want to talk to your medical provider about your sleep symptoms.
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