Sleep Solutions: Increasing Deep (REM) Sleep

The average healthy person spends one-third of his/her life asleep. This is not simply a very quotable statistic but an indicator of the necessity of sleep in our daily lives. The body and mind’s overall working capacity needs to be replenished after all our daily exertions. It is through a good night’s sleep that our bodies power down and process all the activities of the day. It allows for a reinvigorated immune system and a better mental capacity. Sleep is so essential to our lives that a chronic lack of it can cause a gradual deterioration in the experience of our everyday life. Chronic Sleep deprivation can lead to the increased risk of disorders such as high blood pressure, depression, and cardiovascular diseases amongst many others. However, contrary to the general view, sleep alone does not often fix the issue. It is important to understand the stages that sleep is categorized in, in order to be able to map out a healthy routine suited for you.

The Stages of Sleep:

We progress through a cycle of four stages of sleep several times a night. Each one of these stages comprises different levels of brain and neuronal activities. The first three are called “non-rapid eye movement stages (nREM)” and the fourth one is called “rapid eye movement (REM) stage”. Understanding how to control these stages can allow us to feel as rested and healthy as we can be.

  • Stage 1: This is the lightest sleep stage. A person is in the process of falling asleep and can be woken up quite easily.
  • Stage 2: This stage progresses towards a deeper sleep. A person’s heart rate and body temperature begin to fall.
  • Stage 3: This is the deepest sleep stage. A person may not be easily roused from this stage and if they are, they may feel mentally fogged up. This stage allows the body to repair various parts of itself.
  • REM Stage: This is the stage that aids in increasing brain activity, learning, and dreams. The brain analyzes various simulations and learnings of the day while processing and committing them to memory. Phases of Stage 3 (deep sleep) and the REM stage is where the body goes through the most amount of renewal.

Naturally, increasing the amount of REM sleep allows for a better and healthier living experience. It is especially beneficial for children with their developing brains. Learning to manage a good amount of time in REM sleep is a very simple process. We have mapped out some everyday habits that can be adopted to ensure a well-rested and good night’s sleep. Depending on what suits your routine, these tips can prove to be essential in guaranteeing a fresh mind and energized body.

Tips to increase REM sleep:
  • Develop a sleep schedule: For a healthy adult, 7-8 hours of sleep are required for the best performance that the body can provide. The key is to be consistent. It does not matter if you are sleeping at 2 a.m. and can not pull that back to 10 a.m. It is a gradual process but one that will not work without consistency. Using smart technology such as smartphone apps or bedside monitors can be a huge benefit in accurately collecting data and tracking your sleep schedules.
  • Reduce all mental stimulation at night: The brain needs to wind down before you can go to sleep. Blue lights such as those produced by laptops, mobile phones, and televisions hinder the brain from calming down. These blue lights stop the body’s release of melatonin (which is a hormone that produces drowsiness and encourages sleep). Remember to reduce as many stimulating activities as you can while replacing them with calming ones such as taking a bath or reading a book. 
  • Sleep supplements: Some prescribed sleep supplements can positively affect your sleeping patterns. These are normally taken by those going through obstructive sleep apnea or other kinds of sleep disorders. A popular supplement is melatonin which has been known to increase REM sleep duration. It is recommended that you follow your healthcare provider’s advice when purchasing these supplements.
  • Regular exercise: This can go a long way in expending the body’s excess energy so that you can fall asleep easily and not be hindered by it at night. Laying in bed unnecessarily while you can not sleep is not a useful management of time. It is better to get up and do something else in these situations.
  • Diet: A healthy diet is one of the most important aspects contributing to sleep as your diet determines the amount of energy you have and the bodily effects they produce. Fibre-filled foods can have positive effects; vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains are all good choices to increase REM sleep occurrence.
  • No caffeine, alcohol or tobacco: It pretty much goes without saying that these substances disrupt sleeping patterns. They decrease REM sleep duration which results in incomplete rest for the next day. Any caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco related products should be avoided when nearing bedtime. They affect sleep quality and quantity. Caffeine alone can stimulate the central nervous system to hinder sleep for long periods of time. Drinking even one cup near bedtime can essentially push sleep away a few hours. These disruptions should be consciously avoided close to your sleeping time.
  • Avoid hyper-hydration: This refers to the state of the body in which it amasses an excessive water content. It is important not to excessively drink water when nearing your bedtime as this will increase the chances of disrupting your sleep for bathroom trips. It can then take longer for your body to power back down to reach the REM stage of sleep.
  • Change your bedding: It may not seem like it but changing your bedspreads and pillows every so often provide the body with a fresh and comfortable night’s sleep. Constant use can wear anything down so, our bedspreads and pillows should not be treated any differently.
  • Clinical tests and professional advice: If you’re having constant chronic sleeping troubles or experiencing prolonged sleep deprivation then you should contact your healthcare provider. They may recommend clinical tests such as the polysomnogram that can allow specialists to track whether you are reaching or progressing through the sleep cycles. This can also allow for a well-advised sleep schedule to be developed too.

A well-rested night can go a long way in improving many aspects of your life. Considering how essential sleep is to our efficient functioning. As such, it is important for us to make informed choices when it comes to when, where, and how we sleep.  There is no reason for you to feel regularly drowsy and depleted when some simple habitual habits can positively alter that aspect of your life. So, take charge of your sleeping patterns and make an attempt towards a healthier and more productive life. At Can-i Wellness, we support your health and wellness journey. Our Can-i Sleep oral spray supplements are formulated with the best natural ingredients to help aid your sleep troubles, so that you can fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling amazing. 

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