Nowadays, quality sleep can be hard to come by.
One often hears adults complaining of fitful nights and chronic exhaustion, and addicting tech and work-from-home habits seem only to exacerbate the problem. Many who complain of such symptoms are not experiencing sufficient or satisfactory Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep cycles.
REM sleep is crucial to maintaining good health, and poor REM sleep can have unpleasant consequences on the human body. Thankfully, there are minor adjustments you can make to help you sleep deeper.
What is REM sleep, and where does it fit into the sleep cycle?
Study after study shows that sleep is crucial to health and longevity.
There are two primary forms of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep. These occur in four consecutive stages.
Stage One: Awake (Non-REM)
In this stage, you’re awake and aware of your surroundings, functioning at total cognitive capacity.
Stage Two (Non-REM)
In stage two, you lose memory and concentration. Muscles jerk, respiration slows, and the body temperature drops. Some sleepers may start to dream or float in and out of consciousness.
Stage Three: Deep Sleep (Non-REM)
Next, your blood pressure and body temperature drop and become challenging to awaken. This stage promotes the growth and repair of muscles by diverting blood flow from the head to the body.
Stage Four: REM Sleep
REM is one of the most critical aspects of sleep. In this stage, respiration may increase, and vivid dreams will likely start to occur.
The truth about how REM sleep affects you
As its name suggests, REM promotes rapid eye movement, associated with imagination and memory.
Brain wave patterns are similar to wakefulness, and a process called atonia keeps the body paralyzed, so the sleeper does not act out their dreams.
The surprising benefits of REM sleep
Researchers maintain that REM sleep allows people to consolidate memories, process traumatic events, and strengthen cognitive capacity. Additionally, REM sleep can increase deeper learning, help develop and enhance emotional intelligence, and process strong feelings.
Why happens if you don’t get REM sleep?
Most people struggle to reach REM sleep because it’s the fourth stage in the sleep cycle—thus requiring more time and rest.
Without REM sleep, individuals may neglect to process emotions and consolidate memories, leading to cognitive problems and possible mental illnesses.
How to boost the benefits of REM sleep
Thankfully, REM sleep is relatively easy to improve. So, if you’re prone to tossing and turning, waking up more exhausted than when you started the night, consider the following changes.
Use a better mattress
Use a mattress that cools your temperature and molds to your body, thus eliminating common disruptions to REM sleep. Additionally, seek out allergy-friendly mattresses made of organic fibers that allow oxygen flow.
Ideally, your mattress blocks EMF radiation and provides excellent posture support.
Clear your space and your head
To help stimulate deep sleep, it’s essential to wind down before bedtime.
Turn off all technology 2-3 hours before you go to sleep to eliminate the sleep-nixing effects of blue light. You can also practice meditation or deep breathing to soothe your nervous system and prepare for sleep.
Whatever methods you use, ensure your bedroom and bed are clean, clear of clutter, and organized to help put your mind at ease.
REM sleep can be challenging for many, so try not to become discouraged and keep practicing different methods to reach and return to REM sleep.
Before you go
REM sleep is hugely important for your health. Using these tips, you can achieve restful REM sleep and improve your quality of life.
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