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Too much REM sleep is bad for us, as is too little | Letter

  Ezra Hewing offers further insight into the right quality of sleep, and why it is so important Regarding your article “Is sleep a ‘magic pill’ for teen wellness in a mental health crisis? ” (8 June), sleep research tells us that good sleep isn’t just about getting enough – the right quality of sleep is key. It has long been known that worrying and stress increase the intensity of REM sleep, when most dreaming occurs, causing it to start earlier on in the night and reducing the deep sleep needed to repair the brain and body. If intense dreaming continues throughout the night, the person wakes up feeling exhausted and lacking in motivation, which researchers – and those who have experienced it – know to be the sleep pattern that characterises depression. However, if insomnia and nightmares prevent REM sleep from doing the job of reducing cortisol stress hormones and calming emotions from the previous day, the brain’s security officer, the amygdala, is left in a heightened state of arousa .. Full story on 

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