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We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Remember Edward Norton’s character from the 1999 classic Fight Club? Without sleep, you can’t concentrate, your immune system weakens, and a problem, no matter how small, can send you into a fit of rage.
All stages of sleep are crucial; however, Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is widely regarded as the cream of the crop. After you fall asleep, you enter this stage of sleep, during which most dreams occur. It plays a unique role in processing and storing information, allowing you to remember things and retain what you’ve learned during the day.
Most of us require 90 to 110 minutes of REM sleep each night, but sometimes this sleep stage can be challenging to reach. This can be frustrating since this is one sleep stage you really don’t want to miss out on.
However, don’t fret—we’ve gathered a few tried-and-true tips on how to increase REM sleep so your mind feels rejuvenated in the morning.
Maintain a consistent sleep/wake schedule
Making sure you go to bed and wake up simultaneously each day can have a profound effect on your life. By keeping your sleep schedule intact every day, you’ll be able to enter the necessary sleep stages regularly.
The more you do this, the more your body will adjust to the schedule, and hopefully, you’ll be able to enter REM sleep with ease. Who knows, you might even have an easier time getting up in the morning!
Avoid this trio: Alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
Having a glass of wine before bed may sound tempting, but if you’re wondering how to get more REM sleep, hold off that glass for a moment. Several studies have shown that moderate to high amounts of alcohol can delay when you first enter REM sleep, making you spend less time in REM overall.
Caffeine and tobacco are no better, as they also inhibit progression through the sleep stages, especially when consumed near the time you wish to go to sleep. Therefore, in the late afternoon or evening, try to cut back on these substances.
Practice sleep hygiene
The truth is that once you start getting consistent, high-quality sleep, the quantity of REM sleep you get usually stabilizes. Sleep hygiene habits like exercising regularly and a cool, dark, and quiet bedroom environment can help you reach that goal.
Additionally, you can establish a regular bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities like reading or a warm bath. Keeping those addictive black screens out of your bedroom, leaving your bed and doing something else in another room until you feel sleepy should also help. But you shouldn’t scroll on Instagram and read a book instead.
If nothing works, how can I get more deep sleep?
Remember, however, that no two sleepers are the same, as we all have different challenges in life that can interfere with our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
You may also be experiencing REM sleep disruptions because of an undiagnosed medical condition, and if you think that may be the case for you, your doctor or a sleep specialist can help you develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Meanwhile, you can improve your sleep health by taking proactive measures such as these, hopefully giving your mind the REM sleep it craves.