The NREM stage is also called the quiet sleep. In this phase, the sleep is light in the beginning and then proceeds towards a deep state. At this stage, the heart rate decreases, breathing slows down, and blood pressure drops. In the REM sleep, the brain is active. The heartbeats, breathing, and blood pressure increases. Most of the dreaming happens in the REM sleep stage.
Studies demonstrate that newborns sleep a lot more than adults do. They also sleep in a different way from adults. A newborn needs 16 hours of sleep over a period of 24 hours. This sleep is not for a continuous period. Babies wake up and sleep a number of times during the day and sleep more during the night. They spend 50 percent of their sleep time in REM while the REM sleep phase for adults is only a quarter of their sleeping time. So while adults dream for only one or two hours, babies may dream for around eight hours a day.
Studies say that the brain activity associated with dreaming is essential for the babies’ mental development. During the REM stage, the flow of blood to the brain increases. As a result, certain nerve proteins are produced, which are the building units of the brain. Babies get stimulation from what they see, hear, or feel. The brain processes the information acquired while awake, and stores what is essential to the individual. In 2010, a study concluded that babies learned while they were dreaming. Some scientists say that babies dream while they are sleeping in the womb. They perhaps dream about the sensations they experience while they are moving inside the womb. A fetus spends almost the whole time in a day sleeping. These sleeping hours are divided into deep sleep, REM sleep, and a time between them.