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How to Get More REM Sleep: Effective Strategies for Better Rest

We all know that getting enough sleep is important for our overall health and well-being, but did you know that the quality of that sleep matters just as much? One critical component of high-quality sleep is REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement sleep). This is the stage of sleep where our brain activity and eye movements are most similar to when we’re awake, and it’s essential for memory consolidation, learning, and emotional health.

You might be wondering how to get more REM sleep so you can reap its benefits. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore some effective strategies that you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve the quality of your sleep and get the most out of your REM sleep cycle. So, let’s get started on our journey to better, more restorative sleep.

Understanding the Stages of Sleep

We should first grasp the four stages of sleep to effectively discuss how to get more REM sleep. Typically, sleep occurs in distinct cycles that last around 90 minutes each. This cycle continually repeats during the night and is comprised of two major types: light sleep, which covers the first two stages, and deep sleep, which includes the third stage and REM sleep.

Here’s a breakdown of these sleep stages:

  1. Stage 1: The transition stage between wakefulness and sleep. Our brain waves start to slow down, and our muscles begin to relax during this light sleep.
  2. Stage 2: Still considered light sleep, heart rate and body temperature decrease as we get ready for deep sleep.
  3. Stage 3: Deep sleep, or slow-wave sleep, commences, characterized by delta waves and slow brain activity. It’s during this phase that our bodies engage in tissue repair and grow.
  4. REM Sleep: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is the dreaming stage. Our brain waves increase in activity, resembling wakeful brain activity, while our bodies remain paralyzed to avoid acting out dreams.

To provide a clearer understanding of the cycles, we’ve compiled a table of percentages associated with each sleep stage in an average night’s sleep:

Sleep StagePercentage of Total Sleep
Stage 15-10%
Stage 245-55%
Stage 315-25%
REM Sleep20-25%

As the night progresses, the time spent in deep sleep decreases, and REM sleep increases. Consequently, having sufficient sleep duration is key to experience more blips of REM sleep.

Now that we’ve established a solid foundation, let’s explore some methods that can help us cherish more REM sleep:

  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Our bodies follow an internal clock called circadian rhythm that regulates various biological functions, including sleep. Adhering to a regular bedtime and wake-up time refines our circadian rhythm and supports healthier sleep patterns.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: Make sure your bedroom promotes relaxation and sleep. This involves maintaining a cool and comfortable temperature, investing in a supportive mattress and pillow, and reducing light and noise.
  • Limit screen time before bed: Blue light emitted from screens can negatively impact our sleep schedule, so avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Mind your diet and exercise: Maintain a balanced diet, avoid caffeine and alcohol within a few hours of bedtime, and engage in regular physical activity – all of which may help improve sleep quality.

By understanding the four stages of sleep and implementing these strategies, we can work towards achieving more REM sleep and, consequently, reaping the numerous benefits that a rejuvenating night’s rest offers.

How to increase REM sleep naturally?

To increase REM sleep naturally, you can try incorporating certain habits into your routine. These include practicing good sleep hygiene, creating a comfortable sleep environment, managing stress through relaxation techniques, regular exercise, avoiding heavy meals and stimulants before bedtime, and establishing a consistent sleep schedule.

Creating the Optimal Sleep Environment

To get more REM sleep, it’s essential to create the right environment for sleep. We’ll guide you through several key factors that can contribute to an optimal sleep environment. By making small adjustments to your bedroom and routine, you can improve the quality of your sleep and enjoy more of the restorative REM sleep stage.

One important aspect to focus on is maintaining a comfortable temperature in your bedroom. Research has shown that a room temperature between 60-67°F (15-19°C) is ideal for sleep. This can help your body to better regulate its own temperature, promoting easier entry into REM sleep.

Temperature RangeOptimal Sleep Environment
60-67°F (15-19°C)

Here are some additional tips for creating the optimal sleep environment:

  • Minimize Light: Excess light can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Invest in blackout curtains or a sleep mask to minimize light distractions. This will help signal to your body that it’s time for sleep.
  • Reduce Noise: Noise can easily disrupt your REM sleep. Consider using earplugs, a white noise machine, or a fan to mask any unwanted sounds that might interrupt your rest.
  • Choose the Right Mattress and Pillows: Your sleep surface plays a significant role in sleep quality. Select a mattress and pillows that provide proper support and comfort, tailored to your individual sleep position preferences.
  • Opt for Comfortable Bedding: Breathable sheets and blankets made from natural fibers like cotton or linen can help regulate your body temperature and improve sleep quality.

Incorporating aspects of relaxation into your bedtime routine can also contribute to a better sleep environment. Some activities to consider include:

  • Aromatherapy: Diffusing essential oils like lavender or chamomile can create a relaxing atmosphere and assist in promoting deeper sleep.
  • Reading: Engaging in light reading before bed can help ease your mind and prepare it for sleep.
  • Mindful Meditation: Practicing mindfulness techniques or gentle stretches can calm your thoughts and help your body unwind at the end of the day.

By implementing these suggestions and prioritizing sleep hygiene, you’re more likely to create a conducive environment for quality sleep, ultimately leading to more REM sleep and better overall health.

What causes lack of REM sleep?

Various factors can contribute to a lack of REM sleep, including stress, sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea, certain medications or substances, irregular sleep patterns, and certain medical or psychological conditions.

Which is better, REM or deep sleep?

Both REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and deep sleep are crucial for different aspects of our health. Deep sleep is essential for physical restoration and repair, while REM sleep is vital for cognitive function, memory consolidation, and emotional regulation. Both stages are important and serve different purposes.

Adopting Healthy Sleep Habits

Establishing healthy sleep habits is crucial to experiencing more REM sleep. Let’s delve into key practices that can boost the likelihood of enjoying higher-quality sleep, benefiting both our physical and emotional well-being.

Regular sleep schedule: Maintaining a consistent sleep-wake cycle helps regulate our internal circadian rhythm. Going to bed and waking up at the same times everyday (even on weekends) can improve our sleep and overall health.

Comfortable sleeping environment: The atmosphere we sleep in greatly affects the quality of our rest. Factors such as noise, temperature, and bedroom setup all play a role in our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

  • Ensure the bedroom is quiet and dark to minimize distractions.
  • Maintain a cool temperature within the range of 60-67°F (15.5-19.4°C) for optimal sleep.
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow that suits your individual needs.

Minimizing screen time: Reducing exposure to screens, particularly blue light from smartphones, TVs, and laptops, at least an hour before bed, can have a positive impact on sleep.

  • Establish a digital curfew and avoid screen-based activities before bedtime.
  • Opt for relaxing alternatives such as reading or meditation.

Promoting relaxation: Engaging in activities that promote relaxation a few hours before hitting the sack can set the stage for a good night’s sleep.

  • Practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation to clear your mind before bedtime.
  • Listen to calming music or sounds to create a serene atmosphere.

Alcohol and caffeine consumption: Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, especially later in the day, is important for achieving better sleep.

  • Cut back on caffeine consumption after mid-afternoon.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption in the evening.

Avoiding long naps and stimulating activities: Steer clear of taking lengthy naps or engaging in stimulating activities within a few hours of bedtime.

  • Aim to have naps less than 20-30 minutes early in the afternoon.
  • Avoid intense exercise or engaging in emotionally charged conversations close to bedtime.

Integrating these sleep-boosting practices into our daily routine can significantly improve the quality of our sleep, allowing us to savor more of the restorative REM stage.

How much REM sleep does a person need?

On average, adults spend about 20-25% of their sleep time in REM sleep. The specific amount of REM sleep needed can vary among individuals, but most adults require around 90-120 minutes of REM sleep per night for optimal functioning.

What causes REM sleep to increase?

Several factors can contribute to an increase in REM sleep, such as improving sleep quality, managing stress levels, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, engaging in regular exercise, avoiding stimulants close to bedtime, and treating underlying sleep disorders or medical conditions.


Increasing the duration and quality of REM sleep can significantly improve our physical and mental health. Through this article, we’ve explored various techniques that can help maximize REM sleep. To sum up, let’s recap the key takeaways:

  • Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule allows our internal clock (circadian rhythm) to adjust and promote quality sleep
  • Creating a sleep-friendly environment is essential to relax and fall into a deep sleep
  • Avoiding stimulants, heavy meals, and excessive screen time close to bedtime can prevent sleep disruptions
  • Incorporating relaxation techniques like meditation can ease the mind and make it easier to drift into REM sleep
  • Regular exercise does wonders for our sleep quality, but it’s best to avoid intense workouts before sleeping

Following these guidelines can be an effective method to enhance our REM sleep quality, and consequently, improve our well-being. Of course, individual sleep needs and preferences vary, so it’s essential to listen to our bodies and make adjustments as needed. If we continue to struggle with sleep quality or experience sleep disorders, it’s important to seek professional help for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment recommendations.

References and Sources

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