Getting enough REM sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. REM sleep, which stands for rapid eye movement sleep, is a deep sleep stage and is the most restorative part of our sleep cycle. During REM sleep, brain activity increases and the body repairs itself, helping us to stay alert, energized and healthy.
Benefits of Getting More REM Sleep
Getting plenty of REM sleep is important for our physical and mental health. Research has linked quality REM sleep to improved memory, better concentration, and higher creativity. Studies have also found that getting enough REM sleep can reduce the risk of developing mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, getting enough REM sleep helps to reduce irritability and fatigue, boosts the immune system, helps to regulate hormones, and can even help with weight loss.
Furthermore, REM sleep is essential for learning and forming new memories. It helps to consolidate information that we have learned during the day and store it in our long-term memory. Additionally, REM sleep helps to improve problem-solving skills and can even help to reduce stress levels. Therefore, getting enough REM sleep is essential for our overall wellbeing.
What is REM Sleep?
REM sleep is the deepest stage of the sleep cycle. It is essential for both physical and mental health. During REM sleep, the brain becomes more active and the body repairs itself. The heart rate increases and breathing becomes shallow and irregular. Muscles become relaxed but the eyes rapidly move back and forth as if dreaming.
REM sleep is important for memory consolidation and learning. It is also thought to be important for regulating emotions and mood. Studies have shown that people who get enough REM sleep are better able to cope with stress and have improved cognitive functioning. Additionally, REM sleep is thought to be important for creativity and problem solving.
What are the Stages of Sleep?
Sleep has four different stages—wakefulness (non-REM), light sleep (non-REM), deep sleep (non-REM), and REM sleep. During wakefulness we are conscious and alert. Light sleep is when the body starts to relax and breathing slows down. Deep sleep is when the body repairs itself and memories are consolidated. Lastly, during REM sleep the brain becomes active and dreams occur.
The amount of time spent in each stage of sleep varies from person to person. Generally, adults spend about 20-25% of their sleep in REM sleep, while infants spend up to 50% of their sleep in REM. During the night, the body cycles through these stages of sleep several times, with each cycle lasting about 90 minutes.
Tips for Improving Your Sleep Quality
The key to getting quality REM sleep is to follow good sleep hygiene practices. This includes avoiding stimulants like caffeine late in the day, setting a consistent sleep schedule, exercising regularly, avoiding screens before bedtime, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a warm bath or reading a book. Additionally, it is important to keep the bedroom dark, cool and quiet, as well as avoid eating large meals late in the evening.
It is also important to limit your exposure to blue light from electronic devices, as this can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep. If you must use electronic devices before bed, consider using blue light blocking glasses or downloading a blue light filter app. Finally, if you are having trouble sleeping, try to limit your time in bed to only when you are actually sleeping. This will help to reinforce the connection between your bed and sleep.
Foods and Supplements That Help You Get More REM Sleep
Certain foods and supplements can help increase the amount of REM sleep you get. These include turkey, bananas, kiwis, chamomile tea, magnesium, lavender essential oil and melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that helps regulate our sleep cycle and can be taken in supplement form.
It is important to note that while these foods and supplements can help increase the amount of REM sleep you get, they should not be used as a substitute for good sleep hygiene. This includes avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, establishing a regular sleep schedule, and avoiding screens before bed. Additionally, if you are having difficulty sleeping, it is important to speak to your doctor to determine the best course of action.
How to Track Your Sleep Patterns
Tracking your sleep patterns can be a helpful way to monitor your sleeping habits. This can be done by using an app on your smartphone or a wearable device such as a Fitbit. Tracking your sleep patterns can help you identify patterns or problems in your sleeping habits so that you can make adjustments as needed.
When tracking your sleep patterns, it is important to be consistent. Try to track your sleep patterns at the same time each night and for the same duration. This will help you to get an accurate picture of your sleeping habits. Additionally, it is important to note any changes in your sleeping patterns, such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up during the night. This can help you to identify any potential issues that may be affecting your sleep.
Common Causes of Poor Sleep Quality
Poor quality sleep can be caused by stress, anxiety, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, drinking alcohol or caffeine before bedtime, or other medical conditions such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy. If you are experiencing poor quality sleep it is important to identify the cause in order to make any necessary lifestyle changes.
How to Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can be a helpful way to prepare for quality sleep. This routine should include activities that help you relax such as taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book or journaling. Avoiding screens before bedtime is especially important as the blue light from devices can interfere with our natural circadian rhythm.
Signs You’re Not Getting Enough REM Sleep
Signs that you may not be getting enough REM sleep include excessive daytime fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, feeling anxious or depressed, and having difficulty falling or staying asleep. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to address them with your doctor.
The Link Between Stress and Poor Sleep Quality
Stress can have a significant impact on our sleeping habits. When we are stressed our body releases hormones such as cortisol which can interfere with our natural sleeping cycle. During times of stress it is important to practice stress-relieving activities such as deep breathing exercises or gentle yoga in order to reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.
When to See a Doctor for Help With Poor Sleep Quality
If you are experiencing poor quality sleep for more than a few weeks it may be time to see your doctor. Your doctor can help you identify underlying health issues that may be contributing to poor sleep quality and can recommend lifestyle changes or treatments to help improve your sleep habits.