how to get more REM sleep (5 effective strategies)

how to get more REM sleep

Have you ever wondered why you wake up feeling exhausted despite getting a full night’s sleep?

That is because you don’t get enough amount sleep, especially REM sleep.

So, how to get more REM sleep?

That’s what this post is all about.

Read on the article if you want to know how to increase REM sleep.

NREM vs. REM sleep

In our sleep cycles, we typically progress through four to six 90-minute cycles, each comprising various levels and stages of sleep.

The first half of the sleep cycle stages is NREM sleep (Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep), characterized by deep delta wave or slow-wave sleep.

During this phase, our bodies undergo repair, detoxification, and rejuvenation. Growth hormone stimulation also takes place which promotes physical revitalization.

But here’s where things get interesting—the second half of the sleep cycle brings us to the REM sleep stage.

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep occurs in the latter half of your sleep cycle and is responsible for mental rejuvenation and dream activity.

REM sleep, often referred to as “dream sleep” occurs during the superficial level of sleep.

This is where the majority of individuals encounter challenges. While most people get the initial stages of sleep, but they are not getting that second half i.e., full REM sleep.

What’s very interesting about REM sleep is that the brain activity is almost identical to when you’re awake but you’re actually in this sleep state.

REM sleep is actually using sometimes even more energy than the awake state, this explains why you might wake up feeling extremely exhausted as if you have just completed a marathon.

Your brain has been working tirelessly in the REM state, utilizing substantial energy reserves—a remarkable fact, indeed.

But wait, there’s more! The REM stage offers additional mental rejuvenation compared to the preceding non-REM stages.

While non-REM sleep focuses on physical restoration, REM sleep takes care of mental rejuvenation (plays a significant role in processing information and forming connections between different memories), leading to enhanced memory, improved learning, and a sense of waking up mentally refreshed.

During REM sleep, muscle tone diminishes, vivid dreams occur, and the brainstem experiences massive stimulation that is causing this state.

This state is facilitated by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, while the activation of serotonin, noradrenaline, and adrenaline remains minimal.

Effective Strategies to how to get more REM Sleep

Now that we understand the significance of REM sleep, let’s explore some actionable strategies to optimize its quality.

Muscle Relaxation

how to increase REM sleep

 It is crucial to ensure complete relaxation of the muscles surrounding the brainstem before we go to sleep.

You can achieve this through various techniques, such as utilizing specialized devices or applying gentle pressure to specific points right underneath your neck. These methods effectively release tension in the targeted muscles.

Balanced Breathing

how to get more rem sleep

 Correcting your breathing pattern plays a vital role in facilitating REM sleep.

Focus on synchronizing your inhalation and exhalation, aiming for a consistent duration of three to five seconds for each.

Like if you breathe in for three seconds, make sure to breathe out for three seconds so that they are equaled up. This synchronized breathing signals your brainstem through the vagus nerve, creating an optimal environment for entering the REM sleep state.

Temperature Regulation

how to get more rem sleep

Achieving the ideal sleep temperature is paramount to enjoy uninterrupted REM sleep.

Personal preferences may vary, with some individuals favoring thicker blankets while others find a lighter sheet sufficient. Experiment and adjust until you discover the perfect balance for your comfort.

 Boosting Acetylcholine

how to get more REM sleep

Elevating acetylcholine levels can positively impact REM sleep.

Vitamin B1, commonly found in nutritional yeast and other natural sources, supports the production of acetylcholine.

Incorporating a small dose of vitamin B1 before bedtime can help regulate sleep cycles, especially when you have been through a lot of stress or when experiencing recurrent dreams.

 Stress Management

how to get more REM sleep

 Stress poses a significant obstacle to both REM sleep and overall sleep quality.

 Identifying and addressing the root causes of stress is essential for restoring healthy sleep patterns.

By implementing effective stress management techniques and actively working towards resolving stressors, you cover the way for more restful nights and enhanced REM sleep.

Final thoughts

Now that you have been equipped with a deeper understanding of REM sleep and armed with strategies to enhance its quality, it’s time to unlock the full potential of your sleep.

By prioritizing muscle relaxation, balanced breathing, optimal sleep conditions, acetylcholine support, and stress management, you can embark on a journey of rejuvenation and wake up each day feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to conquer life’s challenges.

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