Tips & Tricks For Getting More REM Sleep
Learn more about REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep – the place where dreams are spun and memories are etched! Ensure each night is a restorative voyage that leaves you refreshed and ready for the next day, by learning the significance of REM sleep and practical strategies to optimize it.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is crucial to your well-being and rest. iIt has a wide range of functions including consolidating memories, processing emotions, and enhancing creativity.
Practical tips for optimal REM experience include maintaining a consistent sleep schedule,following your circadian rhythm, and avoiding sleep disruptors like alcohol and caffeine.
Implement the techniques outlined in this guide to nurture your REM sleep, ensuring each night is a transformative journey that leaves you rejuvenated and and prepared to face the challenges of the day.
Did you know?
Ever wondered why you sometimes wake up in the middle of a dream? It's because your brain is highly active during REM sleep, where dreams occur!
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is the phase of your sleep where dreams weave their intricate tales. Yet, the enigma of REM sleep often leaves many wondering how to tap into its benefits fully. In this guide, we unravel some of the mysteries surrounding REM sleep, exploring its functions, the factors that hinder it, and most importantly, how to get more REM sleep for a truly restful night.
What is REM Sleep?
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is one of the four stages of sleep that we cycle through every night. A night of sleep is split between NREM (Non-rapid Eye Movement sleep) and REM sleep, and it usually looks like this:
- Stage 1: The first 2%~5% of your total sleep time is when you are drifting off to slumber. You can easily be woken up in this stage.
- Stage 2: Known as light sleep, this is the stage when your breathing, heart rate, and brain activity start to slow down as you move into deeper sleep.
- Stage 3: This is the stage when you reach deep sleep, characterized by slow-wave brain activity. This is when you are the hardest to be woken up from.
- REM sleep: Making up 20~25% of your total sleep time, this is when you dream. Brain wave activity, breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure all rise, and your muscles are temporarily paralyzed to stop you from acting out your dreams.
What does REM Sleep Do?
Your brain is remarkably active during REM sleep – similar to your wakeful state – while your body remains essentially paralyzed.
Higher Quality of Sleep: Research found self-reported sleep quality was positively associated with the duration of REM sleep — although there’s no agreed-upon definition for sleep quality yet. In simple terms, people who showed to have longer periods of REM sleep felt better rested when they woke up.
Brain Development: Your brain processes and integrates information from the day during REM sleep, leading to enhanced cognitive function. Rem sleep is good and neccesary for healthy brain development – the sleep period of newborn babies consists of 50% REM sleep!
Memory Consolidation: REM sleep helps prepare and maintain neural connections to enhance future learning, which helps you remember things and retain memories, both long-term and short-term.
Emotional Processing: REM sleep can help people recover from stressful events, and obtaining larger amounts of REM sleep after a traumatic event may reduce the chances of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fostering Creativity with Dreams: Dreams during REM sleep are often vivid and unusual, whereas dreams during NREM sleep are more grounded in reality.
Reduced Risk of Dementia: Research has found less REM sleep is associated with a higher risk of dementia, so it is important to catch up on your REM sleep as much as you can!
How Much REM Sleep Do You Need?
There’s no one single answer to the question of how much REM sleep you should get every night. Periods of REM sleep occur at roughly 90-minute intervals throughout the night and generally become longer as the night wears on, starting at 10 minutes long and sometimes even lasting as long as an hour.
Adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night, and REM sleep should ideally make up around 20% to 25% of a person’s total time asleep. That being said, the total amount and timing of REM sleep periods are determined by your brain, which self-regulates to maintain a balanced level of sleep stages; so if you’ve wondered how to get rem sleep faster, it’s probably best to let your body decide.
The amount of REM sleep you need can change from night to night. If you are curious how to reduce REM sleep, research has found that restricting your hours of sleep, followed by recovery nights of increased hours of sleep, resulted in a significant decrease of REM during the restricted nights, that then increased during the recovery nights. This is called the REM rebound effect: your body’s biological drive to seek REM sleep.
How to Get More REM Sleep?
When it comes to sleep science, the most important thing is to listen to your body. Our bodies are designed to self-optimize and naturally will spend the right amount of time in each sleep stage.
If you’re struggling to find restorative rest, here are some tips on how to improve rem sleep:
Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends, helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. This way you are encouraging a healthy sleep pattern and helping your body get REM sleep. Your body will eventually get used to a sleep schedule, so you will be more alert and sleepy at the appropriate times.
Follow your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal biological clock, and it runs on a roughly 24-hour cycle, dictating your energy levels, hormone production, and body temperature. Boost your circadian rhythm by aiming for 10 minutes of natural light exposure after waking up. and dimming the lights and limiting your screen time in the evenings.
Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine and Tobacco
While alcohol can work as a sedative, it can suppress REM sleep; alcohol consumption can delay when you first enter REM sleep, and it can also cause you to spend less time in REM sleep overall.
Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants that interfere with the normal progression through your sleep stages, preventing REM sleep. Limit your intake of these substances to earlier times in the day, or where possible better, avoid them entirely
Optimize Sleep Environment
You should make necessary adjustments to ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Investing in a comfortable blanket that can help improve your overall sleep quality – including REM sleep – is a good place to start.
Research has shown that weighted blankets help improve the quality of sleep by delivering Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) across your body. If you are using a weighted blanket for the first time, we recommend our 15 lbs Cotton Napper for a calming, soothing hug of soft organic cotton as you drift off to sleep. If you tend to run hot at night, our naturally cooling Tree Napper is a great alternative.
Dreamy, buttery softness
Calms body & mind for deeper sleep
Hand-knitted huggable comfortIt's Napper Time
What else could help improve sleep quality? Let’s dive into a few tricks for getting into REM sleep faster.
How to get REM Sleep Faster
Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Give yourself time to unwind before bed each night. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety and helps you fall asleep faster. Engaging in calming activities like reading, meditation, or gentle stretching before bedtime signals to your body that it's time to wind down, promoting smoother transitions into REM sleep.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness practices reduce stress and promote relaxation, creating an optimal mental state for entering and maintaining REM sleep. If you lie awake at night worrying or thinking about things bothering you, try practicing mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is the act of living in the present moment and is a good way to relieve stress and anxiety. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, can also help you reach REM sleep faster.
Engaging in physical activity not only promotes overall sleep quality, but also enhances REM sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week – any exercise is better than none, so stick to doing activities you enjoy to help you maintain an exercise routine.
Treat Sleep Disorders
If alterations in REM sleep are due to disruptions caused by a sleep disorder, then treating the disorder can prompt a return to normal proportions of REM sleep. For example, studies have found that after treating obstructive sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, people experience REM rebound sleep accompanied by better mood and higher-quality sleep overall. We recommend you see a sleep specialist for a personalized treatment plan depending on your situation.
REM sleep is the cornerstone of all the sleep stages that shapes our physical and emotional well-being. Understanding its significance and adapting specific strategies to enhance the quality of your REM sleep can transform your rest.
Nurturing your REM sleep, helps to improve cognitive functions and ensures you wake up each day feeling refreshed and ready for the day.