How to Get More REM Sleep: Train Your Brain
In our fast-paced, modern live, quality sleep can be hard to come by. Late night study sessions, crying kids, hungry cats, work stress, it’s no wonder that many of us find ourselves struggling to achieve a truly restful night’s sleep. Whatever is keeping you up at night, don’t worry, the Pillow Cube team is here to help.
Considering you’re reading this article, you’ve probably heard the term “REM” thrown around to describe a restful night’s sleep. You may have wondered, “does is stand for Really Extraordinary Moments of slumber?” Well, not exactly, but it might as well, considering the magic it works on your brain! We all need a little more magic in our lives, so keep reading to learn 7 ways to improve your sleep.
What is REM sleep
There are four stages of sleep, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is the fourth stage. During REM sleep, your eyes move rapidly behind your closed eyes, your heart rate speeds up, and your breathing becomes irregular. REM sleep is the time when our brains engage in essential processes like memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and creativity enhancement. It's like your brain's secret workshop, where it fixes stuff, sorts out memories, and probably even plans your next brilliant idea. Most adults need at least two hours of REM sleep at night!
Here are some signs that you’re not getting enough REM sleep:
- Poor memory
- More sleepiness during the day than usual
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
How to Get More REM Sleep: Train Your Brain
Comfort is key, so use the Right Pillow
When you’re uncomfortable, whether its a stiff mattress or a pillow that is too fluffy or too flat, you’re more likely to wake up multiple times throughout the night from shifting around. Setting up a comfortable environment in your bedroom is key to ensuring an uninterrupted sleep. Over here at Pillow Cube, we sleep great, and we don’t gatekeep our secrets to incredible zzzz’s.
The Pillow Cube fills the gap between your bed and you head, aligns your spine, and supports your noggin. The cube shape fits perfectly under you neck and the premium memory foam is incredibly comfortable. If you find yourself lacking quality sleep, it may be because you’re lacking a quality pillow.
Set a Bedtime and Wakeup Time.
Yep, even adults need bedtimes! When you have a set bedtime and wakeup time, you're more likely to fall asleep faster and spend a higher proportion of your time in bed actually sleeping, including in REM sleep, rather than lying awake.
Our bodies have an internal clock, known as circadian rhythm. This internal clock regulates various physiological processes, including sleep-wake cycles. Consistent bedtime and wakeup times signal to your body when it's time to prepare for sleep and when it's time to wake up. You have to train your brain to get restorative, REM sleep!
Engaging in regular physical activity can improve sleep quality, including REM sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, but try to finish your workout at least a few hours before bedtime to allow your body to wind down.
Journal Before Bed
If anxiety is keeping you up, journaling can help release your chaotic thoughts and allow your brain to relax. The truth is, worrying about our problems doesn’t fix them, although is takes skill to disassociate from work, family, and life stress to allow for restful sleep.
Try to write down whatever is giving you anxiety, whether its a lengthy todo list or a stressful situation, then try to let it go for the night.
Stay Away From Alcohol Close to Bedtime
Don’t worry, you can still enjoy that glass of red wine, but try to avoid drinking it too close to bedtime! Alcohol can disrupt REM sleep patterns later in the night.
While short power naps can be refreshing, long or irregular daytime naps can disrupt your sleep cycle, making it harder to achieve deep REM sleep at night. If you need to nap, aim for a brief nap of 20-30 minutes.
Avoid Screens an Hour Before Bed
Try to find other ways to wind down and relax! Take a bath, read a book, do yoga, write in your journal, meditate, drink some tea, talk to a friend. If your brain is too reliant on a phone to relax, than it will forget how to relax on its own. Plug your phone in your bathroom or on the other side of your bedroom and don’t touch it for an hour before bed!