Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling like you didn’t get enough sleep? Do you find yourself feeling sluggish or fatigued during the day? While many factors can contribute to these feelings, inadequate REM sleep is one of the most significant.
What is REM Sleep?
Not all sleep is created equal. In fact, our bodies experience four different phases of sleep. These are split between REM-sleep and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep occurs when you are just drifting off, and later in the night, when you are sleeping the most deeply. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a lighter stage of the sleep cycle that first begins about an hour or an hour and a half after you first fall asleep. REM sleep is the time during your sleep cycle when you tend to have the most vivid dreams.
During REM sleep, your sleep is lighter, brain activity increases, and you experience more intense dreaming. During REM sleep, your body is the most relaxed, and most of your major muscles (including arms and legs) effectively act as though they are paralyzed. REM sleep is also characterized by:
- Faster breathing
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Rapid eye movements
Why Happens If You Don’t Get Enough REM Sleep?
REM sleep is critical to healthy cognitive functioning. The amount and quality of REM sleep you get affects your memory, creativity, and learning. Not to mention your overall energy and mood.
REM sleep is also the time during the night when new things you’ve learned from the day get committed to memory. Research suggests that being deprived of REM sleep can result in people having difficulty recollecting things they were taught before falling asleep.
Inadequate REM sleep is often the result of chronic sleep deprivation. Besides feeling exhausted and miserable after a night of poor sleep, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to serious health risks, including a greater risk of:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Shorter life span
Healthy adults should spend about 20-25% of their time asleep in REM sleep. In other words, if you sleep for 7-8 hours a night, 90-120 minutes of that should be REM. If you’re worried you aren’t getting adequate REM sleep, here are some easy tips to get more REM sleep.
Tips for Getting More REM Sleep
- Stay on a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, or as close as possible. A regular schedule helps our body achieve the kind of sleep it needs.
- Stay away from alcoholic beverages before bed. Even though these may make you feel sleepy, research shows that a few drinks before bed not only delays the onset of REM sleep, but actually decreases the time spent in REM sleep overall. As much as possible, try to have your last drink no later than 3 hours before bedtime.
- Stay active during the day. Those who do not get regular physical activity tend to spend less time in REM sleep. Get your heart rate up starting with 20-30 minutes each day. This can include walking the dog, jogging, yoga, or swimming.
- Plan to give yourself 7 hours of sleep each night whenever possible. This will give your body the time it needs to go through adequate REM cycles.
Along with those tips, try the following natural sleep supplements from Perque, Lidtke, and Nutritional Frontiers.
Sleep Guard by Perque
Sleep Guard from Perque is a natural, non-habit-forming sleep aid that helps you get quality rest and support a better mood and improved energy. Sleep Guard from Perque is all-natural, helping you sleep by using pharmaceutical-grade L-tryptophan – the amino acid found in food (like turkey) that can make you feel sleepy. Sleep Guard promotes healthy REM sleep rhythms, may enhance mood and energy, and supports neurohormonal balance.
L-Tryptophan Powder 500 Mg by Lidtke
Another powerful all-natural sleep supplement powered by tryptophan is L-Tryptophan Powder 500 Mg from Lidtke. This supplement powder uses TryptoGOLD: this amino acid is custom made through a natural fermentation process and surpasses professional purity standards. With 500mg L-Tryptophan per serving, L-Tryptophan Powder 500 Mg is a great option for those looking for ways to support a healthy mood and sleep naturally.
Sleep TIme New Formula by Nutritional Frontiers
Sleep Time New Formula from Nutritional Frontiers is formulated to help support the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which have a role in sleep cycles and anxiety. Every two capsules of this natural supplement contain vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, GABA, glycine, taurine, L-theanine, 5-HTP, and melatonin to provide both powerful sleep support and anxiety relief.
What are your best tips for getting more REM sleep?