Paradoxical Sleep

Last Updated: October 29, 2018

Definition - What does Paradoxical Sleep mean?

Paradoxical sleep, also called rapid eye movement sleep (REM), is the deep sleep stage characterized by intense bioelectric activity in the brain where episodes of dreams occur accompanied by interdependent homeostatic functions of vital organs. Rapid eye movement is a crucial sleep stage as it contributes to mental acuity, cognitive function, and retaining information to promote brain health. As paradoxical sleep sets in, evidence suggests that the body undergoes sleep atonia, an autonomous state of paralysis that inhibits involuntary motion of the muscles.

WorkplaceTesting explains Paradoxical Sleep

Four stages of sleep occur, beginning with non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and gradually transitioning into the REM cycle where brainwave activity is more active than its corresponding wakeful state. An electroencephalogram, or EEG, is a graph used to monitor and track various physiological factors in which body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure levels rise during paradoxical sleep. Sleep deprivation or a sleep disorder can have a detrimental effect on REM sleep as cognitive impairments become more pronounced, inhibiting function of otherwise normal activities.

Individuals receiving inadequate rest are more likely to display erratic behavior disturbances and a depletion of energy that can undermine communication skills, disrupt concentration, and limit efficiency. Chronic sleep deprivation and irregular sleep habits are suspect factors that may contribute to the development of neurological disorders or cardiovascular conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease. Losing REM sleep has negative implications in the workplace as job performance and productivity may suffer.

Paradoxical sleep is essential in promoting longevity of the biochemical structure of the brain, which can potentially help avoid neurodegenerative diseases. Adopting and following a schedule of good sleep hygiene can bolster cognition, improve memory retention and diminish epidemiological consequences related to sleep deprivation.

Share this:

Connect with us

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of employment testing and employee wellness professionals.