How to Get Better REM Sleep
Understand the Basics of Sleep
Sleep plays an important role in physical and mental health and is essential for the body to function properly. It’s important to understand the basics of a good night’s sleep in order to get better REM sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep on a regular basis can help you to feel more energized, focused, and productive.
Let’s take a look at the basics of sleep and how to get better REM sleep:
Learn about the different stages of sleep
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, understanding the various stages of sleep is key. Sleep is divided into two main categories: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Understanding each stage can help you identify which kinds of sleep might be missing from your nightly routine, so you can take steps to get better quality rest.
This stage includes four distinct levels of decreasing activation: from deepest NREM (stage IV) to light NREM (stage I). Stage IV NREM is characterized by deep, slow brain waves and very little muscle activity. At the lightest level (stage I), brain waves become faster and irregular with occasional short bursts of activity; some muscle activity may occur during this stage as well.
The majority of our time asleep is spent in this NREM phase as it takes up around 70-80% of our total sleeping time each night. This stage is also known as “quiet sleep” because there are usually no visible signs of movement or dreaming during this period. It has been linked to cell repair, memory consolidation, and enhanced physical performance recovery the following day.
This stage occurs after a few hours spent in light states of NREM – usually five or six cycles during a single night’s sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement, referring to the jerky movements made by dreamers’ eyes beneath their closed lids. During REM, brain waves become highly active and muscles relax; dreaming also typically occurs at this time though memories are often fragmented upon waking since brainwaves during REM resemble those experienced when awake. The heart rate will tend to speed up during this phase along with faster respiration rates. Though contrary to popular belief – REM does not induce deeper levels of slumber than other sleeping stages but rather increases our overall dreaming activity for the duration we are in it for throughout the night.
Identify the factors that can affect sleep quality
There are a range of factors that can shape the quality of your sleep. These include lifestyle choices, environmental factors, mental health and physical health. Identifying which elements are at play for you is an essential step in improving the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Lifestyle Choices: Metaphorically speaking, the ‘bedtime routine’ could also be referred to as ‘sleep hygiene’ as it sets up our environment and habits for good or bad sleep. Making sure you keep a regular sleep schedule, reduce caffeine intake before bed, turn down bright lights during evening hours and reduce late night screen time–all help establish healthy habits that promote a good night’s rest.
Environmental Factors: The environment often tells our body when it is time to rest. This includes both external noise levels as well as room temperature (ideally between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit). If these levels aren’t ideal for sleeping –for example if you live near a high-traffic area– then try to keep apart from any such noise sources or factor them into your ritual somehow. Bed and Room Accessories like blackout curtains, eye masks and ear plugs can be helpful here.
Mental Health: A stressful day may make it hard to settle down in bed and even something seemingly small like checking on what is going on in the news can ramp up cortisol levels which has been linked to poor quality of sleep amongst other deleterious effects on overall health. One way helped differentiate this problem is with conscious relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or writing out everything on your mind right before bed. Learning meditation techniques can also help clear anxieties that may otherwise prevent us from peaceful resting times alone or during moments of intimacy with partners/ family members etc..
Physical Health: Physical ailments such as chronic pain, hormonal imbalances and respiratory issues (like asthma) are usually prerequisite conversations for discussing insomnia treatments with medical professionals because they might directly relate to each individual’s unique circumstances regarding quality of sleep among other symptoms associated with disrupted REM cycles etc.. Medical teams often prescribe medications that have been proven effective at resolving various aspects associated with lack thereof needed restorative time throughout the daying nighting hours – but again this should always be discussed under doctor’s supervision! Remember – do more research before introducing any type of prescription into your current lifestyle rhythm – there may be subtle yet important side effects so be sure to make informed decisions about your own personal wellbeing ahead/alongside any suggestion from reading here today!
Create a Sleep Routine
Establishing a consistent sleep routine can be key to getting better rest and achieving a better quality of sleep. Creating a routine will allow your body to adjust to a consistent sleep and wake pattern, making it easier to fall asleep at night. It can also help to ensure that you’re getting enough rest and making the most of the time you do spend in bed.
Let’s talk about how you can create a sleep routine and make sure you get the most out of your rest:
Establish a consistent bedtime and wake time
Creating a consistent sleep routine requires establishing a consistent bedtime timetable and wake-up time. Such consistency will help you get better sleep throughout the night and wake up feeling energized in the morning. When creating your sleep schedule, consider best meeting your own individual needs to get in enough hours of sleep each night.
This can be accomplished by looking at when you typically experience feeling tired and plan to be in bed around that same time every night for 7-8 hours of sleep. Adherence to this bedtime will also help synchronize your body’s internal clock as it learns when it needs to prepare for sleep. This includes increasing the release of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps induce feelings of drowsiness and prepares your body for restful slumber.
For many people, a regular daily desk job means that one’s daily routine is likely influenced by their work schedule regardless of the restful amount of hours they plan on getting per night; thus having an earlier scheduled alarm in order to make it into work on time can become prioritized ahead of an adequate amount of hours needed for finalizing/deepening restful cycles during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep – usually needed after 6 hours or more before actually waking up. This often results in insufficient or low quality rest which can compromise daytime functioning and impair performance.
To remedy this, establish a no-compromise set wake-up time so you can give yourself enough sleep each night while managing your day with enough energy throughout the day ahead – allowing you to still make it into work on time each day. Waking up at a same consistent time everyday 7 days a week (yes, even on weekends!) will benefit your holistic well being more than catching up on little bits of extra shut eye here and there – prioritizing this consistency will further anchor/synchronize your circadian rhythm, leading to better quality & longer REM cycles necessary for quality integration & deeper restorative states needed for optimal functioning throughout everyday routines.
Reduce exposure to light before bed
Reducing your exposure to light at night, particularly during the hours leading up to bedtime, is essential for optimizing healthy sleep. When you’re exposed to light in the evening, it can confuse your body’s natural circadian rhythms and suppress production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
To avoid this disruption and get better REM sleep:
- Turn off electrical devices that emit blue light like cellphone screens, TVs and computers. If you need background noise while sleepingtry using an audio player with built-in speakers instead of headphones.
- Invest in blackout blinds or heavy drapes that block out outside sources of light such as street lamps or car headlights.
- Keep your bedroom dark by unplugging any device with a lit display such as a clock radio or speakers when they’re not in use.
- Use a low brightness setting on any device that needs to be left on at night, like an air purifier or humidifier with an LED indicator light.
- Only expose yourself to natural sunlight throughout the day, this will help tune your body and brain for a regular night sleep schedule in addition to providing other important health benefits like increased vitamin D intake from sun exposure.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with your sleep quality. Being mindful of your caffeine intake and avoiding it after noon, can help ensure a more restful night’s sleep. Additionally, alcohol is known to interfere with deep stages of sleep. So if you have a late night drink, make sure you give yourself enough time to sleep before having any alcoholic beverage before going to bed.
Lastly, even if you are feeling slightly anxious or have difficulty falling asleep, avoid reaching for stimulants like caffeine as this will only make it harder for you to get back to peaceful slumber.
Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment
Creating a comfortable sleep environment is essential for getting good quality rest. This includes having a comfortable mattress, pillow, and bedding, as well as making sure the bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Having a regular sleep schedule can also help ensure that you get enough restful sleep.
Let’s look at how to create a comfortable sleep environment which can help you get better REM sleep:
Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and comfortable
Creating a comfortable and relaxing sleep environment is essential for getting healthy rest. A major factor in getting quality rest, regardless of the time of day, is creating a dark, quiet and comfortable space for sleeping. The ideal sleeping environment involves controlling all aspects of sound, light and temperature to create an optimal atmosphere for restful sleep.
To ensure your bedroom is as dark as possible, especially during the day when melatonin levels should be low:
- Make sure that windows are equipped with blackout blinds or curtains to keep out sunlight or other ambient lights.
- Sensor lights may also come in handy by providing lighting when necessary while you stay in darkness during the night hours.
- Additionally, consider covering or unplugging any electronics such as clock radios that could cast a light on your bedroom.
It’s also important to minimize disruptive noises during sleep time such as street traffic, barking dogs or snoring partners; invest in white noise machines and ear plugs if needed. During daytime naps especially blackout curtains and ear plugs can help provide maximum darkness and quiet for a good restful nap.
Lastly make sure your bedroom is comfortable – adjusting the temperature within the room and using multiple layers of blankets if you get cold can help maintain comfort throughout the night. Using breathable sheets reduce moisture build up while sleeping which helps prevent waking up feeling wet or hot due to perspiration during sleep; this ultimately reduces disruptions causes by outside temperatures due to limited air flow between body and bedding surfaces then affecting comfort during long periods of restful sleep. Consider investing in an adjustable bed with memory foam top layers so you have plenty of support throughout your legs arms shoulders back with the added benefit being able to adjust the head position easily for maximum comfort and reduced strain on any muscles due to improper positions before going off into dreamland.
Invest in a quality mattress and pillows
In order to foster a good night’s rest, having quality bedding is essential. Coupled with the appropriate mattress and pillows, you can create an optimal sleep environment for deeper and more comfortable rest.
A good mattress should provide enough support without feeling too stiff or uncomfortable. The ideal mattress should be able to contour to your body’s shape and provide cushion and pressure relief throughout, ensuring that your spine stays aligned correctly. In addition, your pillow should be supportive yet comfortable, offering adequate neck support without feeling too hard or soft.
Aside from investing in a good mattress and pillows, paying attention to other elements such as temperature and light also play a part in creating an ideal sleep environment. To ensure sufficient darkness while sleeping, use blackout curtains or an eye-mask if necessary to help cut down on incoming light. Additionally, if you have trouble falling asleep at night due to sweaty sheets, invest in temperature controlling bedding materials that minimize heat transfer during the night. By incorporating elements such as these into your bedroom setup will allow you to get the most out of your sleep each night so that you can awake more refreshed come morning time.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
One of the best ways to improve your restful sleep is to reduce stress and anxiety. This will help you get better REM sleep, which is the deep stage of sleep when our bodies restore themselves.
Reducing stress and anxiety can be done in several ways, from simple activities such as yoga and meditation to more complex strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and lifestyle changes. In this section, we’ll discuss the various ways to reduce stress and anxiety to get better REM sleep:
Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises
Finding effective techniques to reduce stress and anxiety is important for maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness can be beneficial in managing symptoms of stress and anxiety.
When practiced consistently over time, relaxation techniques can help you to become more aware of your body while also improving physical and emotional wellbeing. For example, meditation can foster self-acceptance when used properly by helping you to connect with your thoughts on a deeper level. Additionally, finding the right type of yoga practice such as slow stretching or mindful movement can aid in calming the mind while also providing physical benefits such as improved strength and posture. Similarly, deep breaths or diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (the “stress hormone“) while also optimizing breathing efficiency.
Lastly, progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that uses the awareness of tension release in different parts of your body in order to relax throughout the entire body. By practicing these types of exercises regularly—especially before sleep—you can find relief from anxious feelings while helping create better sleep quality overall – aiding in overall well-being!
Exercise regularly but not too close to bedtime
Exercise can do wonders for relieving stress and helping you to get a better night of rest. Regular physical activity helps to improve overall well-being, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and decrease daytime fatigue, even in individuals with insomnia.
However, exercising right before bedtime can have the opposite effect, so be sure to leave several hours between exercise and when you plan on going to sleep. A few simple strategies such as setting a specific bedtime each night or staying away from screens an hour before bed can also help make sure that you’re getting the best possible rest throughout the night.
Avoid screens before bed
In order to reduce stress and anxiety, it is important to avoid the blue light from screens before bedtime. The blue light affects the body’s ability to produce melatonin, a critical sleep hormone. Without melatonin, your sleep is not as restful and restorative.
One way to reduce stress and anxiety before bed is to create a consistent evening routine that avoids screens in the hour before bedtime. This ensures that your body can wind down and prepare for sleep in its own natural way. Instead of screens, it may be helpful to read a book or meditate while dimming lights slowly in order to create a calming atmosphere.
Additionally, try incorporating de-stressing activities earlier in the day such as:
- Walking outside in nature
- Listening to relaxing music during an exercise class
These activities help with mental clarity throughout the day so you can feel less anxious when it’s time for bed. Finally, consider other lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine or sugary food late at night which will help your attitude of relaxation once you hit the pillow. Each of these steps helps change how you respond to stress and anxiety allowing your body better restful sleep each night without depending on screens as a form of distraction or entertainment.
Monitor Your Sleep
Getting enough restful sleep on a regular basis is essential for your physical and mental health. One of the most effective ways to ensure you are getting the best quality sleep is to monitor it.
Tracking your sleep through sleep logs or a wearable device that records your sleep activity will help you identify patterns and pinpoint areas where you can make improvements. Let’s explore how monitoring your sleep can give you the best chance to get better rem sleep.
Track your sleep using a sleep tracker
Using a sleep tracker can be a great way to gain insight on your sleeping habits and make adjustments to help you improve the quality of your rest. Sleep trackers use accelerometers, heart rate monitors, or other wearables that measure movement and sleep cycles during the night. They can track how long it takes you to fall asleep, patterns in your sleep cycles, sleep duration, and light/deep/REM sleep phases.
Sleep trackers can provide valuable information about the very specific aspects of your sleep that you wouldn’t receive from talking to a healthcare provider alone. This data can help identify underlying conditions that are disrupting your sleep such as insomnia or obstructive apnea. Many popular Sleep Trackers will also show how environmental factors like temperature or noise levels may affect individual sleeping cycles.
By tracking awareness of your wellness habits with a monitor and making changes accordingly, such as winding down an hour before bed or being careful about caffeine intake before bedtime, will eventually result in better overall health and well-being from higher quality REM sleep cycles. To get started tracking yourself at night it is important to find a monitor that suits you best which may vary depending on the brand and features available on each device – but they all should have this basic function – give data-driven feedback during nights so you know the best time to wake up feeling more alert and refreshed each morning!
Keep a sleep journal to document your sleep patterns
A sleep journal can help you monitor your sleep and evaluate what is working and what needs to be improved. It’s an effective way to identify how much time you are sleeping each night, the quality of that sleep, and any potential obstacles that need to be addressed.
Start by writing down the time you went to bed each night and the number of hours slept. Include any notes about your room temperature, light levels or disruptions during the night. In addition, rate your overall quality of sleep from 1 (poor) to 10 (excellent).
You may also want to note whether or not you took naps on any particular day or slept in later than usual. It’s important to document all the details so that potential patterns may begin to emerge over time. Additionally, if appropriate, record how you felt during the day using a 1-10 scale with 1 being very poor energy levels and 10 indicating excellent energy levels throughout the day.
Tracking your current sleep habits will help you become aware of any irregularities or issues. This information can then be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes or therapies if necessary in order to improve your overall quality of sleep.
Talk to your doctor if you have persistent sleep issues
If you find yourself regularly struggling to fall or stay asleep, or having difficulty waking in the morning, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor. They may be able to identify an underlying medical cause for your sleep difficulties or suggest certain lifestyle changes that can help you get a good night’s sleep every night.
Before speaking with your doctor, take some time to journal your sleep patterns and note any contributing factors such as caffeine consumption and stress levels. This information can help your doctor pinpoint potential solutions tailored to you and your lifestyle habits. If medications are prescribed, inform your doctor of any existing health conditions that might interact negatively with particular treatments.
If the suggestion of lifestyle changes is made by the medical professional, consider modifications such as:
- Eating healthy meals regularly – including lean proteins and complex carbohydrates – avoiding caffeine late in the day,
- Incorporating an exercise regiment into daily life,
- Utilizing relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises or yoga before bedtime.
Additionally, recognize comfort needs when it comes to bedding: make sure the mattress is supportive and comfortable and invest in light-blocking curtains if sunlight is affecting nighttime wakefulness. Creating a cozy atmosphere conducive to restful sleep helps improve both quality of sleep as well as soundness upon waking up.