Quality REM sleep, the stage of sleep when most individuals have vivid dreams (though they may not remember them during the day), is necessary for health and wellness. Without quality REM sleep, individuals may have reduced coping skills during the day. REM sleep supports the development of the central nervous system. Those who do not get enough REM sleep are often drowsy during the day and have more trouble remembering information.
They may experience migraines, and they are more likely to be overweight than individuals who do get enough REM sleep. When individuals want to increase the quality of their REM sleep, there are concrete steps they can take. These steps can be used by anyone who needs more sleep.
Address Medical Conditions Interfering With Sleep
In order to foster REM sleep stages, individuals need to address any medical conditions they may have that might be interfering with their sleep. Sleep apnea is a particularly troublesome condition that causes the affected individual to stop breathing at intervals throughout the night, which can result in extreme snoring and trouble staying asleep. If an individual thinks they have sleep apnea, they should see a doctor for testing. Often, a medical device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mask can be worn during the night to ease the symptoms.
Other medical conditions that may interfere with sleep include allergies, asthma, heartburn, restless legs syndrome, anxiety, kidney disease, and thyroid disease. Mental health problems like depression and anxiety can also cause insomnia. All of these should be considered before a diagnosis is made and treatment begins.
Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
It is important for individuals to create a relaxing bedtime routine to foster quality REM sleep. Many individuals make the mistake of using electronic devices or watching television before bed as a way to wind down. The blue lights emitted by electronic devices can alter someone's circadian rhythm, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep at the right time. It is best to do a relaxing activity in a room without bright lights to wind down for sleep. It is also a bad idea to watch or read things that cause stress before bed.
For example, individuals may want to avoid reading the news before bed if this makes them feel nervous or upset. It is important for an individual's sleeping environment to be as dark, quiet, and peaceful as possible. With this in mind, they should get blackout curtains and play white noise sounds or run a fan to block out exterior noises. It is also best to keep the bedroom between sixty-four and sixty-seven degrees Fahrenheit to promote restful sleep. Many individuals find a warm bath or shower before bed helps them sleep.
Get Enough Sleep Consistently
When individuals are looking for ways to increase their sleep quality and level of REM sleep, it is important to get enough sleep consistently. This can be easier said than done for many. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. It is crucial to note it is not possible to make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping in on the weekend. It is far better to set a consistent bedtime and wake time seven days a week, though it may be difficult to change a deep-set habit like going to bed too late.
However, to transition away from this, each night, individuals should move their bedtime back by fifteen minutes until they have grown accustomed to the earlier time. They should track their sleep habits and try to match them up with their daily routine. If individuals find they are engaging in an activity that causes them to lose sleep, they may wish to consider doing this activity earlier in the day. For instance, they can time their caffeine use during the day, and try to avoid all caffeinated beverages after 3 PM to promote better REM sleep.
Choose the Right Mattress and Pillow
When individuals are having trouble achieving enough REM sleep, it is necessary to choose the right mattress and pillow. Sleeping on an old or damaged mattress can cause anyone to lose sleep. It is important for individuals to choose the mattress and pillow that most closely match their sleep style and comfort requirements. There are dozens of different kinds of mattresses, from the traditional coil and pocket systems through adjustable inflatable beds that work at the touch of a button.
Individuals should test each one to determine whether it supports their preferred nighttime position. The same consideration should be given to pillow choice. There are good pillows for side, back, and stomach sleepers. Whatever kind of mattress and pillow an individual chooses, they should make sure they have soft, clean, high-quality sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding.
Curb Stress And Anxiety
When individuals need more REM sleep, they often need to curb stress and anxiety they may feel during the day. Unfortunately, worrying about not getting enough sleep can cause a rebound effect that makes an individual's sleep even worse. They should thus try to structure their day to reduce stress. If individuals are pressured by a long commute, they should consider taking public transportation.
If they feel stressed about child care and parenting, they can try to find support from friends and family. Finally, it is important to be screened for any underlying mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. When these problems are properly treated by a physician, patients may notice a significant improvement in the quality of their REM sleep.