REM sleep

What is the nature of REM sleep? Why is it important to sleep?

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By contrast, "NREM (non-REM) sleep is dreamless sleep. During NREM, the brain waves on the EEG are typically slow and of high voltage, the breathing and heart rate are slow and regular, the blood pressure is low, and the sleeper is relatively still. NREM sleep is divided into 4 stages of increasing depth of sleep leading to REM sleep. About 80% of sleep is NREM sleep. If you sleep 7-8 hours a night, all but maybe an hour and a half is spent in dreamless NREM sleep?(http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8681)

2. Why is it important to sleep?

Sleep is important for several reasons, such as:

o For overall good health. During sleep, your brain produces the special biochemical and physiological changes that restore and recharge your body for the next day e.g. improving such things as performance, energy levels and optimism). These changes only occur when sleeping; resting doesn't count (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0HUV/is_1_30/ai_78434746/).

o For our minds and bodies to function normally. Some parts of the brain actually increase their activity dramatically, and the body produces more of certain hormones.

o Appears to be required for survival. For example, ...