How to Get More REM Sleep: 8 Tips

How to Get More REM Sleep
How to Get More REM Sleep

Are you tired of waking up feeling groggy and sluggish? Want to know the secret to waking up refreshed and energized? Look no further! In this guide, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and uncover strategies that can help you get more of it. By understanding the importance of REM sleep in your circadian rhythm, you can combat insomnia and improve your overall sleep quality.

Understanding the importance of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is crucial for optimizing your overall well-being. It’s during the REM stage that our brains consolidate memories, process emotions, and restore cognitive functions. But how can you ensure you’re getting enough REM sleep to combat insomnia and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm? We’ll explore various techniques and lifestyle changes that have been proven effective by experts and even WHOOP members.

By improving your NREM and REM sleep, including during the circadian rhythm, you can experience a myriad of benefits ranging from enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills to better mood regulation. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can unlock the power of quality NREM and REM sleep for a revitalized mind and body. Don’t forget to create a comfortable bed environment to combat insomnia.

Importance of REM Sleep for Healthy Brain Development

Role of REM sleep in memory consolidation

During REM sleep, our brain activity plays an important role in memory consolidation. This stage of sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements and increased brain activity. Insomnia at night can disrupt this crucial process, impacting memory and cognitive function. It is during this time that the brain processes and stores information gathered throughout the day, helping to solidify memories and improve recall. Research has shown that a disrupted circadian rhythm can lead to difficulties in retaining new information and negatively impact overall cognitive function.

Impact of REM sleep on cognitive function

Research has shown that getting sufficient amounts of REM sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal brain health and performance. Individuals who spend enough minutes in this stage of sleep tend to exhibit improved attention, problem-solving skills, and creativity. On the other hand, inadequate REM sleep can result in decreased cognitive abilities, including difficulties with concentration and decision-making. So, it is important to prioritize getting enough restful sleep at night before going to bed.

Link between REM sleep and emotional regulation

In addition to its effects on memory consolidation and cognitive function, REM sleep also plays a vital role in emotional regulation during the night. During this stage of sleep, the brain processes emotions experienced throughout the day in just a few hours, helping to regulate mood and promote psychological well-being. Insufficient REM sleep for a few minutes has been associated with increased emotional reactivity, heightened stress levels, and a greater likelihood of experiencing negative emotions in bed.

How to Get More REM Sleep

Comparing REM Sleep and Deep Sleep

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and deep sleep are two distinct stages of the sleep cycle, occurring during the night. Each stage has its own characteristics and functions, lasting for minutes or hours. Understanding the differences between these stages can help optimize your restorative benefits and improve overall sleep quality in bed.

Differentiating characteristics of REM and deep sleep

  1. REM Sleep:

    • Rapid eye movements

    • Increased brain activity

    • Vivid dreaming

    • Temporary paralysis of voluntary muscles

  2. Deep Sleep:

    • Slow brain waves (delta waves)

    • Limited eye movement

    • Minimal muscle activity

    • Difficult to awaken from

Functions served by each stage of sleep

  1. REM Sleep:

    • Enhances memory consolidation

    • Supports learning processes

    • Facilitates emotional regulation

  2. Deep Sleep:

    • Physical restoration and repair of tissues

    • Promotes growth and development

    • Strengthens the immune system

Balancing the stages for optimal restorative benefits

Achieving a healthy balance between REM sleep and deep sleep is crucial for maximizing the benefits of both stages during the night. Spending enough time in bed allows for sufficient minutes and hours of sleep, ensuring that your body and mind can fully rest and recharge.

  1. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule at night. Stick to regular bedtimes to ensure sufficient time for both REM and deep sleep stages. This will help you cycle through the different stages of sleep effectively. It is recommended to aim for around 7-9 hours of sleep each night to allow your body to complete a full sleep cycle.

  2. Create a conducive sleeping environment at night. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature for a good night’s rest. You need just a few minutes to set up the perfect sleep space.

  3. Manage stress levels: Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises before bed to improve your sleep hygiene habits and address any sleep issues you may have.

  4. To get enough REM sleep, you need to limit your caffeine intake. Avoid consuming caffeine close to bedtime as it can disrupt your ability to fall into deeper stages of sleep.

  5. Regular exercise is essential for a good night’s sleep. Engaging in physical activity during the day will help improve the quality of sleep you get at night.

  6. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption: While alcohol may initially induce drowsiness, it can disrupt normal sleep patterns, including the need for REM and deep sleep stages.

  7. If you consistently struggle with obtaining the necessary amount of REM and deep sleep, you may need to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance. Seek medical advice if necessary to address any issues at this stage.

By understanding the need for characteristics and functions of REM sleep and deep sleep, as well as implementing strategies to balance these stages effectively, you can improve your overall sleep quality and reap the benefits of a more restorative slumber.

Factors Affecting the Quality and Duration of REM Sleep

High levels of stress can significantly disrupt the quality and duration of REM sleep. When stress is high, it becomes difficult for the brain to enter deep sleep stages, including REM sleep. This disruption can decrease the total time spent in REM sleep that we need.

Medication also plays a role in altering REM sleep patterns on the stage. Certain medications, such as antidepressants or stimulants, can impact the amount of time spent in REM sleep on the stage. These effects may vary depending on the specific medication and individual response on the stage.

Alcohol consumption is known to reduce the amount of REM sleep individuals need. While alcohol may initially help individuals fall asleep faster, it ultimately disrupts their natural sleep cycles. As a result, less time is spent in REM sleep, which is essential for cognitive function and overall well-being.

In addition to stress and medication, various conditions can affect REM sleep duration and quality. Sleep disorders like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea can lead to fragmented or disrupted REM sleep periods. These conditions often cause individuals to wake up frequently throughout the night, preventing them from entering into deep stages of restorative REM sleep.

Understanding these factors that influence the quality and duration of REM sleep allows individuals to take proactive steps towards improving their overall sleeping habits. By managing stress levels effectively and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption or medications that interfere with natural sleep cycles, one can promote better REM sleep for optimal cognitive functioning and overall health.

To summarize:

  • Stress disrupts REM sleep.

  • Medications can alter REM sleep patterns.

  • Alcohol consumption reduces time spent in REM sleep.

  • Various conditions like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea et al affect REM sleep.

Improving your overall sleeping habits involves managing stress levels effectively, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption or medications that interfere with natural sleep cycles for better quality and duration of vital REM rest.

Science-Backed Strategies to Increase REM Sleep

Regular Exercise:

  • Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help increase REM sleep, et al.

  • Engaging in activities like jogging, swimming, or dancing boosts good sleep hygiene, ensuring enough sleep and sleep consistency.

  • Physical exertion during the day promotes deeper sleep cycles, including more REM sleep.

Relaxation Techniques:

  • Implementing relaxation techniques before bedtime, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, is another effective way to enhance REM sleep et al.

  • Practices like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or listening to calming music can improve sleep hygiene and promote quality sleep. These techniques help relax your mind and body, meeting your sleep need and promoting sleep consistency.

  • These techniques, et al, reduce stress levels and prepare you for a more restful night’s sleep.

Environmental Factors:

  • Adjusting environmental factors can significantly impact the quality of your rest and increase REM sleep.

  • Monitor light exposure by minimizing screen time et al before bed and using blackout curtains et al to create a dark sleeping environment.

  • Consider magnesium supplementation as research suggests it may improve overall sleep quality, including increasing REM sleep.

Avoid Stimulants:

  • Limit caffeine intake throughout the day as it interferes with natural sleep patterns, reducing REM sleep.

  • Avoid consuming alcohol close to bedtime since it disrupts normal sleep cycles, decreasing the amount of REM sleep you experience.

Expert Tips:

  • According to experts, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule helps regulate your body’s internal clock and increases REM sleep.

  • Establish a relaxing pre-sleep routine that signals your brain it’s time for rest. This could involve reading a book or taking a warm bath.

Incorporating these science-backed strategies into your daily routine can lead to an increase in REM sleep. Remember, prioritizing regular exercise, implementing relaxation techniques before bed, adjusting environmental factors for better rest quality, and avoiding stimulants are all crucial steps towards achieving more rejuvenating nights of deep slumber.

Addressing Sleep Disorders for Better REM Sleep

Identifying symptoms and causes of common sleep disorders affecting REM sleep

Sleep disorders can significantly impact the quality of our REM sleep. It’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms and understand the underlying causes. Here are some common sleep disorders that can affect REM sleep:

  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, leading to reduced REM sleep.

  • Sleep apnea, et al: Interruptions in breathing during sleep, causing fragmented sleep patterns and decreased REM sleep.

  • Narcolepsy: Excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden episodes of falling asleep, disrupting normal REM sleep cycles.

  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS): An uncomfortable sensation in the legs, leading to difficulty falling asleep and maintaining REM sleep.

Seeking professional help for diagnosing and treating underlying conditions

If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder impacting your REM sleep, it is crucial to seek professional help from a qualified specialist. They can diagnose the condition accurately and recommend appropriate treatment options. Consider consulting a reputable sleep specialist who can guide you through the process.

Exploring therapeutic options like cognitive-behavioral therapy

In addition to medical interventions, therapeutic approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be beneficial in improving both overall quality of sleep and increasing REM sleep. CBT focuses on identifying negative thought patterns or behaviors that may contribute to poor sleeping habits. By addressing these factors, individuals can learn techniques to promote better relaxation and establish healthy bedtime routines.

Remember, if you are experiencing persistent difficulties with your REM sleep or suspect a possible underlying condition, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or specialist who can provide personalized guidance and treatment options tailored specifically to your needs.


In conclusion, achieving more restful REM sleep is crucial for your overall well-being and brain function. REM sleep plays a vital role in healthy brain development, memory consolidation, and emotional regulation. It is distinct from deep sleep and has its unique benefits.

Several factors can affect the quality and duration of REM sleep, including lifestyle choices, stress levels, and sleep disorders. By addressing these factors and implementing science-backed strategies, you can increase your REM sleep and reap its numerous advantages.

To enhance your REM sleep, consider adopting good sleep hygiene practices such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a conducive sleeping environment, and practicing relaxation techniques before bedtime. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can promote better sleep patterns.

If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder impacting your REM sleep, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options. Addressing any underlying conditions will significantly improve the quality of your REM sleep.

Remember that improving your REM sleep requires consistency and dedication. By prioritizing restful nights filled with ample REM sleep, you are investing in your overall health and well-being.


How long should I aim to achieve REM sleep each night?

On average, adults spend about 20-25% of their total nightly sleep in the REM stage. Aim for approximately 90-120 minutes of REM sleep per night.

Can napping during the day help increase my overall amount of REM sleep?

Napping can contribute to increasing the amount of total nightly REM sleep; however, it is essential to keep daytime naps short (around 20-30 minutes) to avoid disrupting nighttime slumber.

Can certain foods or drinks impact my ability to achieve more restful REM sleep?

Consuming caffeine or heavy meals close to bedtime may interfere with falling asleep quickly and reaching optimal stages of deep and REM sleep. It is advisable to avoid these substances and opt for a light, balanced dinner instead.

How can stress affect my REM sleep?

High levels of stress can disrupt the quality and duration of REM sleep. Engaging in relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises before bedtime may help reduce stress and promote better REM sleep.

Are there any natural supplements that can improve REM sleep?

Some natural supplements, such as melatonin or valerian root, have shown potential in improving overall sleep quality, including increasing the amount of REM sleep. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.


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