If your sleep quality has taken a nosedive since the pandemic, you’re not alone. In a recent survey by the Sleep School, more than half of the participants spilled the beans about their ongoing sleep woes. 53% of them confessed that they feel like they’re only scoring a 40-minute cameo in the world of REM sleep each night. Blame it on the pandemic-induced stress, the nightly wrestling match with your off switch, or mental health hiccups – there’s a unique sleep saga for everyone.
But first – what is REM? And why does it matter in the grand scheme of your slumber?
Rapid eye movement or REM sleep is the fourth out of four total stages of sleep.
During REM, your muscles are relaxed, breathing is sensitised, heart rate is elevated, brain is very active. But here’s the kicker – this seemingly wild party in your brain serves a crucial purpose. REM sleep is the maestro behind memory consolidation, emotional processing, brain development, and those wacky dreams. These elements are the secret sauce for a good night’s rest and the turbo boost for your energy levels during the day.
Making sure to get at least 120 minutes of REM can be a game-changer for your health and well-being. However, unfortunately, most adults do not get enough. Well, lets change that. Here’s the lowdown on how to make the most of your REM and groove in harmony with your body’s sleep cycle:
- Make sleep a priority. The first tip for how to sleep better? Get enough of it. Your brain loves a full sleep cycle of seven or eight hours. It's during this slumber session that your brain hypes up on memory consolidation and mood tuning, especially during its star act – REM sleep.
- Create a sleep haven. Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool – the ultimate recipe for a sleep paradise. Darkness cues your body to produce melatonin, the VIP of sleep hormones. Noisy neighbours or blinding lights? Nope, not in your bedroom.
- Decline the invite from caffeine after 5 PM. This party crasher can totally mess with your sleep cycle, so keep it out of your bedtime routine. Your well-rested self will thank you in the morning.
- Catch some sunshine. Natural light is the best thing for your body's internal clock. Aim for sunlight for at least 30 minutes in the morning. This will help with the regulation of your natural cycle, thus helping you stay lively during the day and wind down like a champ at night.
- Reboot your eating habits and get moving. What you eat affects how you sleep, and how you sleep affects how you eat. Heard this before? Well, it’s true. Foster sleep with more whole foods, and calming teas for a restful snooze. And the same applies to exercise. Aim to finish workouts at least three hours before bedtime and you’ll be good to go.
Now, to turbocharge your REM, consider these snooze-friendly tips. As bedtime nears, detach from electronic devices at least an hour prior. Ensure you're well-hydrated – consider it a pre-sleep ritual. Lastly, allocate 10-20 minutes for relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation. You’ll be amazed at how these seemingly simple tricks can do wonders!
So, are you all set to sleep like a baby tonight? We hope so! Happy sleeping!