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How did you sleep last night? REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, is one important component of better sleep.

Sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Apnea Association. There are many problems that can affect your sleep quality, from sleep apnea to insomnia and others.

Yet getting better sleep doesn’t mean entering a cocoon-like state for seven to eight hours. Our bodies and minds actively go through four sleep stages at night, several times. Each stage is important.

During the three non-REM sleep stages, your body transitions from lighter sleep to deeper sleep. In deeper sleep, it’s harder for the body to wake up. It’s normal to cycle through these sleep stages, along with REM sleep, a couple of times a night. Sleep cycles are generally 90 minutes to two hours.

REM sleep is the sleep stage that usually occurs an hour to 90 minutes after you fall asleep. Although you can dream in other stages, REM sleep is when your dreams tend to be most memorable. Throughout the night, your REM sleep cycles get longer.

REM sleep helps the brain in several areas:

  • Creativity
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Process emotions through the act of dreaming

There is not solid guidance on how much REM sleep we need. However, REM sleep that makes up 20% to 25% of the overall sleep cycle appears to be average.

If you wake up feeling irritated or exhausted, it could be because you haven’t gotten enough quality sleep, including REM sleep.

 

4 Tips to Improve Your Sleep Quality, Including REM Sleep

  1. Track your sleep through wearable devices. From OURA rings to Apple watches to FitBits and more, there’s a variety of choices if you want to get to know your sleep patterns and overall health better. Although the information you get from these devices shouldn’t overstep guidance from trusted health professionals, they can start to reveal sleep trends that you can discuss with your health team.
  1. Establish a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. This helps train your body on when to go to sleep. Your body will naturally start to get tired around your chosen bedtime and wake up feeling refreshed (ideally) during your wakeup time. Keep in mind that seven to eight hours of sleep is what’s recommended for most adults.
  1. Adjust the temperature. The best temperature for sleeping is between 60 F and 67 F, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you think of your bedroom as a cool, dark cave, then you have the right idea. If you can’t achieve the ideal temperature with your heating or cooling system, use a fan to help provide cooler air.
  1. Try melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone our bodies produce to promote better sleep. Inexpensive melatonin supplements do the same thing and can be useful if you have insomnia or if you’re a night person looking to get to bed earlier.

 

How Reveal Vitality Can Help You Live Better by Day and Get Better Sleep at Night

If you’re concerned about getting better quality sleep, Reveal Vitality can help. At Reveal Vitality,  we focus on action-oriented, evidence-based therapies to help you live a healthier life. Contact Reveal Vitality today at 941-217-2777 to get on your way to better sleep at night and better health.