Sleep is an integral part of our daily life. It is very important to ensure that we get the right amount of sleep so that we can lead a healthy life. When an individual sleeps, their brain goes through five stages. Of these, four of the stages are known as non-REM (NREM) sleep while one stage is known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. In this stage, there is rapid eye movement in different directions. Individuals usually enter this REM sleep stage within 90 minutes of sleep.
How To Reduce REM Sleep Naturally?
Some of the characteristics of REM sleep stage include:
- Irregular and fast breathing.
- Increase in the heart rate.
- Body temperature changes.
- Increase in blood pressure.
- Increase in consumption of oxygen consumption by the brain.
- Face and limb movements.
- Both men and women experience sexual arousal.
Ideally, the first REM phase basically lasts for just 10 minutes. This duration subsequently increases, and the final REM phase can last for up to one hour.
According to various studies, it has been found that people with REM sleep difficulty may find it difficult to learn and memorize things. People who do not get an adequate amount of REM sleep may suffer from problems such as:
- The decrease in coping skills
Effective natural methods
If you are facing difficulty in getting an adequate amount of REM sleep, it is possible to enhance it through natural ways. Below are some of the effective natural methods:
- Bedtime Routine – It is important to ensure that you have a regular bedtime routine. This ensures that your body and mind are well-prepared for sleep. A set routine ensures that you get maximum sleep which ensures that you get a sufficient amount of REM sleep phases. One way to set a specific routine is to ensure that you go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time in the morning. A human body needs a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep. So, you need to plan your routine accordingly. Over a period of time, you will notice that your REM sleep stage has improved. Try to maintain this bedtime routine during weekends and holidays too.
- Avoid Unnecessary Waking during the Night – Waking up unnecessarily due to various factors can have an adverse impact on your REM sleep phase. In order to avoid this, you will need to focus on factors such as room temperature, unwanted lights, loud sounds, etc. Many people like to sleep with a night light on without realizing that it may be negatively impacting their sleep. Also, some people prefer the room temperature to be hot while some prefer it to be cold. The recommended temperature is 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also avoid unnecessary sources of the night such as phones, television, etc.
- Exercise – Exercising on a regular basis is not just beneficial for your body but it also has a positive impact on your sleep pattern. There are different kinds of physical exercises that you can indulge in and ensuring that you practice them regularly can result in positive sleep patterns. You can opt for walking, yoga, swimming, jogging, etc. You can start by practicing your exercises for 20 minutes a day and slowly increase it to 30 minutes and then to an hour. But you should ensure that you carry out these exercises at least 3 hours before your bedtime. This will give your body sufficient time to cool down and relax. When your sleep pattern improves, it will give your body the required stamina to indulge in these physical exercises.
- Avoid Large Meals – Apart from ensuring that you eat a healthy and balanced diet, it is also important to ensure that you avoid any large meals before bedtime. Having large meals will result in a reduced amount of deep sleep. Like physical exercises, it is recommended that you eat your meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Alcohol Consumption – Many people indulge in alcohol consumption thinking that it will relax them; however, the fact is that over-indulgence can negatively impact the amount of REM sleep you receive. It is better to avoid drinking alcohol for at least a couple of hours before bedtime. Another reason why you should avoid drinking before bedtime is because once the effect of alcohol wears off, you might keep waking up during the night.
- Reduce Caffeine Intake – In order to improve your REM sleep phase naturally, you will have to pay attention to your caffeine intake as well. Too much caffeine results in an increase in your heart rate which in turn makes it difficult for you to fall asleep. So, try to avoid any source of caffeine such as soda, tea, coffee, chocolates, etc., as much as possible, especially before bedtime. It is recommended that one should avoid caffeine after 2 p.m.
- Avoid Screen Time – Technology has become a part and parcel of our lives and it has become difficult to avoid them in our daily lives. Not many people are aware that spending a huge amount of time looking at the screen of various electronic devices such as phones, tablets, television, computers, laptops, etc., can disrupt your sleep. So, ensure that you avoid looking at these electronic screens which emit blue light hours before you are off to sleep.
- Relieve Stress – Undue physical and mental stress also have an adverse impact on our sleep pattern. Try to find creative ways in which you can relieve your stress such as writing a journal, listening to music, practicing meditation, opting for therapies such as aromatherapy, etc.
Apart from inculcating these healthy habits, you can also make some physical changes, which will improve the environment where you sleep. These physical changes include:
- Placing some padding on the floor around your bed.
- Placing some kind of barriers around your bed.
- Removing any unwanted furniture and clutter away from the bed.
- Protecting your windows against unwanted noise and light.
If you are facing difficulty in sleeping, try out these methods which will surely enhance your REM sleep stage. Only in extreme cases, you will need to take help of medications after consulting a doctor.