Increase REM sleep naturally and how it improves your quality of life.

improve REM Sleep

Something that most of us need more of is sleep. In a world of artificial light, brain stimulation and working longer hours, sleep normally gets the short end of the stick. The truth is, the cornerstone of health is good sleep.

One of the most effective ways to improve your health is to get more sleep but more importantly improve the quality of sleep and increase REM sleep naturally.

By missing out on quality hours of sleep, we collect sleep debt which we need to pay back with more sleep or our health. The book Sleep Thieves by Stanley Coren discusses this in much detail on how we accumulate and may never pay off sleep debt.

When we finally get to sleep, we are in NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement) sleep or REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Typically, you begin how to increase rem sleepthe sleep cycle with a period of NREM sleep followed by a very short period of REM sleep. This switches between long NREM and short REM cycles continues throughout your sleep. Each REM cycle becomes longer throughout the sleep period.

What’s the difference between REM and NREM Sleep?

In NREM Sleep, our body rests and repairs. It’s our physical repair system restoring muscles, bones and body tissues. Super important for our immune system.

In REM sleep your eyes move quickly in different directions. That doesn’t happen during non-REM sleep. It is also believed that REM is associated with your dreaming state.

REM stimulates the part of the brain that is used for learning and is important as it’s the restorative part of our sleep. Super important for infants who are in REM about 50% of sleep but just as important for adults who are in REM About 25% of sleep.

So what’s better? Longer sleep for fulling the recommended 8-9 hours or lesser but high quality of sleep (with good REM)?

The average adult gets 6.5 hours per night. Pretty bad when the recommend ideal is 8-9 hours. I seem to work happily on 7-7.5 hours per night but if my deep REM sleep has been interrupted how to get more sleepregularly during the night (loud noises, children crying or waking me up), I could sleep 10 hours but still feel tired.

My wife and I noticed in the first years of bringing our twin babies home, we were not just getting less sleep, but loosing the depth of our sleep. This caused us to become anxious, constantly ill and feeling like our immune system was not working.

For months, we felt like we could not recover, even with super nutrition and working on other factors in our life. We started measuring our sleep disruptions with Fitbit devices and noticed how often we were not sleeping.

We realized at this stage it was impossible for us to both get an undisrupted sleep (with new borns), so we started taking shifts of either late night or early morning. What we found that although we were getting less sleep, our improved quality of sleep helped our bodies and minds repair efficiently. So, we were waking up less fatigued.

The end result is that getting higher quality sleep definitely wins over long low quality sleep.

But nothing beats a high quality sleep for over 7 hours if you want to feel like a million bucks when you awake.

How can you improve quality of sleep?

If you are a parent with sleepless kid/s, unfortunately you must ride it out or get a baby sleep professional to help. If you don’t have kids or your kids are in good sleep patterns and you’re still waking up tired, here are some tips to help get high quality sleep.

Is REM Sleep importantMorning Glory Sun

Getting good sleep starts in the morning. Get your circadian rhythm moving in in the right direction by starting with early morning with sun light exposure to your skin and your eyes.

A recent study that focused on sleep quality monitored peoples sun exposure and found that subjects that had little or no sun exposure on waking were more likely to be insomniacs. Furthermore, the subjects that had worked in a windowless workplace and didn’t get more than 45 minutes of natural light exposure had the lowest quality of sleep.


A good workout can equal great sleep. As little as 10 minutes of high intensity aerobics exercise will make a tremendous difference to sleep quality and how fast you fall asleep.

Exercise tires the body, raises body temperature and after exercise allows it to cool again. The contrast of temperature in the body trigger the chemicals in your body to need sleep.

There is much debate about exercising right before bed hindering sleep. This is really dependent on the individual, but I say allow an hour at least.

Reduce Anxiety and Stress with supplementation and meditation

Nobody can go to sleep stressed and thinking of the bad day they just had or what the world will throw at them tomorrow.

Try some of these stress reducing supplements to help reduce anxiety. Completely natural and will help bring calm to your body.

Meditation may be the best way to find long deep slumber. A regular meditation practice will help your mind assist with any internal dialogue that keeps you up by quieting the mind in general. Check out this free mediation guide for beginners.

Breath work in twine with meditation just before bed will bring the brain into alpha waves and reduce stress while increasing relaxation. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama) done slowing will give an immediate result put you in a clam state by harmonizing the left and right hemisphere of the brain.



Binaural beats

Try some binaural beats in deep sleep mode the trick the brain to into relax mode. This scientific method that helps you go from alert to relaxed to asleep within minutes by using a process to alter your brain waves with entrainment entertainment.

Learn more about binaural beats here.

Sleep like a corpse – Cold and dark

Mild cold exposure can be the best sleep signaller for your body. Take a cold shower or contrast shower (hot and cold rotating but finishing on cold) to feel like you’ve taken a sleeping pill. It’s truly amazing.

Also the temperature of the room can affect our sleep with studies in Switzerland suggesting 67oF (19.5 oC) room temperature can provide us the best environment to snooze.

Some are so obsessed about being cool for better sleep they’ll sleep naked or without covers. A popular way to cool your bed is to use a Chilipad Cube Mattress cooling system.

Along with your cool room ensure there are no lights on at night from electronics, exterior lights seeping through windows and doors.

Remove Blue Spectrum Light

Artificial light is everywhere with LED monitors from computers, tablets and smart phones to fluorescent and LED lights replacing incandescent bulbs. The problem with this type of light sources is it signals daylight to the hypothalamus area of the brain screwing with our circadian rhythm. Our brain actually thinks we are seeing daylight which stuffs with our internal body clock. This will also stop the natural production of melatonin which is a hormone in the body to help us sleep.Improve Sleep with Blue Blocker glasses

Best practice to reduce screen time at least 2 hours before bed and use red light bulbs, incandescent or candles in these 2 hours.

If you’re like me and am busy working at the computer before bed (as per this post), use blue blocking glasses. These orange lens glasses will cut out blue spectrum light seeping into your eyes and ensuring that your brain is getting night time signals not sunlight! You also look like a cool fighter jet pilot.

 Turn Off Electronics

Apart from the artificial light sources, technology is not giving our brain a rest. Stimulating our minds with TV, Video and other computer exertions, our brain does not get the break it deserves.

Also, the electromagnetic fields from cellular and Wi-fi can influence brain activity and will contribute to the development of insomnia. In 2007, a sleep study was done evaluating participants that were or were not exposed to electronic magnetic radiation like mobile phones. It was clear that the participants exposed to the electronic magnetic radiation had more difficulty falling asleep.

Noisy Environments

One of the things we sometimes can’t control is our external environments. Living on a busy road or train line, loud neighbors, young teens having midnight parties or any other audible pollution.better REM sleep for performance

This is another tough gig to drown out or get used. I’ve lived (and living) with these same issues. I’ve found that you can get used to most of the sounds that aren’t too loud and once your brain becomes accustom to these external factors, the hardest thing is falling asleep.

Use white noise soundtrack to drown out external background noise or try high quality Binaural Beats.


Trying to keep a consistent sleep schedule signals to the body it’s time to sleep. This can be hard for some with varying conditions but will prove best.

Have a bed time routine set out and I’m sure you’ll be loving yourself that you’re well rested and improving your quality of life.

Do you have any bed time routines or tip? Please share and leave a comment below.

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30 Comments on Increase REM sleep naturally and how it improves your quality of life.

  1. WoW! This really is a very informative article.
    I tend to work on my computer late in the evening. Then I have difficulty in falling asleep, due to my mind being over stimulated. I even get my computer out at 3 or 4 a.m. when I wake up and can’t sleep. I certainly have to do something to improve my sleep schedule.
    Thanks for all the info.

    • I’m the same with late computer work. The Blue blocker glasses are a savior to my sleep. Good luck on improving your sleep schedule. Try to be consistent.

  2. Good sleep is a huge issue for my husband and I. We were sleeping less and less as we entered our fifties, and paying the price.

    We exercised; we tried to stay calm and cheerful; w kept our bedroom an optimal place for relaxation and sleep; we maintained a good routine. Nothing seemed to help.

    We began supplementing magnesium, and it helped a little bit. We were calmer. Recently I began supplementing vitamin D, because I read that older people did not process vitamin D as well as younger people. The study’s author postulated that this was the reason people slept less and less as they aged. This really resonated with me, so I took the D. After a few days I noticed that while I was only sleeping a little longer, I felt more rested.

    My husband said that I was not moving around as much in bed. This caused me to suspect that I was sleeping more deeply and getting a better quality of rest. He began taking vitamin D as well.

    Since we are very pale people who wear sunscreen and stay out of the sun as much as possible, supplementing vitamin D makes a lot of sense for us.

    If you’re doing everything else right, I suggest you try the vitamin D.

    When my children were young we used to give them apples and cheese for a bedtime snack. We had been taught to believe this would help the children sleep.

    Have you ever heard of this? Do you think it’s true?

    • Thanks for your story Elizabeth. I too supplement with Magnesium and have heard about Vitamin D process in older people. My Dad in his late 60’s, he gets too much sun and the doc’s still think he is deficient in Vitamin D.

      Its the first time I’ve heard of Apple and Cheese for kids. I will try it tonight. I’ve heard having a good amount of healthy fats before bed can help the slumber. Maybe it could be the cheese?

  3. Thank you for such an insightful post. A month ago my stress levels sky rocketed and I have developed really weird sleeping habits as a result. Recently, I have been having a very hard time getting myself back on track.

    I know going forward, the first tips I am going to employ are turning off my electronics and meditating. I really do not want to turn to any kind of sleeping pills. I think your tips are way healthier.

    Thanks for this post!!!

  4. Hi there, thank you for this informative post, I think electronics are the reason why most people don’t sleep at night, that’s why expert recommend staying away from them 1-3 hours before you go to bed.

    Another thing that is great and actually helps you to sleep is showering 30 minutes before going to sleep, it works!

    Needless to say (like you said) exercising helps a lot!
    Thanks for the nice read and have a great day!

  5. Hi Vince –
    Wow – you have a ton of great information in this post. I knew about REM sleep, but I never heard of the NREM. I like the idea of the Fitbit. Is there a particular brand that you would recommend?
    Thanks – Brian

  6. Hey man,

    This is an awesome post!….I love those glasses you mentioned.

    Had no idea they existed but now I can use my laptop before sleep and still get good quality REM sleep!

    If I don’t sleep I can tell you it affects me the next day. Almost got in a car crash because of poor sleep!

    Great post!


  7. You have done really good tips here. I used to do serious sleep hygiene – all blue light sort from natural sources eliminated at 6pm, candles only, orange goggles, f.lux, and up at the same time every day.

    Nowadays I have much less opportunity for even mediocre sleep. Talk about sleep debt, I have a sleep mortgage. New baby & on call firefighter = up at all hours!


    • Wow Joe, I don’t know how you keep up and hope you have more opportunity for better sleep in the future.
      New baby and on call is crazy!!!
      So important to ensure the sleep you get is of the highest quality.
      All the best.

  8. Man I had no idea the difference. I sometimes sleep well, and other times I don’t. It feels like my brain won’t turn off or something. Then their are days where I just stay up so freaking late and then get tired, and by the time I get up I don’t want to lol . This is super helpful, great read.

    • Thanks Alex. It sounds like it maybe difficult for you to create consistency in your routines. Hope the tips work well for you.

  9. Chock full of good information here! As a health coach, I work with people on their sleep and your methods are spot on. I’m really intrigued by your suggestion of binaural beats and will look into that. I personally have purchased the orange glasses for my college aged daughter because she is up late studying and needing to be on electronic devices. I think they are a MUST for high school and college kids.

    • Thanks Linda. I guess for students, most text books are now digital. So computers and e-readers would be very common which will effect sleep for our younger generation.

  10. Getting the proper amount of sleep is sooo important. It can put a toll on your immune system for sure. I can remember a time (sadly it was here recently) where I got so little sleep I was legitimately physically ill. There’s not much worse than that. I’m also real bad at sitting in front of a bright phone screen minutes before I roll over – many of us don’t even think twice about what it is actually doing to us! This article makes me really think about a few habits I need to change… It also make me want to catch a nap! Lol really great read, thank you.

    • Hope you get some quality ZZZs Jen. Its tricky when mobile devices are so accessible even right next to our beds!! Sometimes, even I can’t can’t help a bit of iPad time before bed.

  11. Hey great tips for getting a better sleep. I really don’t know what a full nights sleep feels like anymore. My oldest is 17 and having six kids in between and another on the way, there is always someone interrupting us and crying through the night. My toddler don’t like sleeping through the day and even when I do get a chance for a nap, I find it hard to switch off or I keep dreaming about writing articles so my brain never rest. I’m so tired and now I have a crazy puppy to add to the mix that my kids want for an inside pet,,,,, the last thing I feel like doing.

    Thanks for another great read and will have to try some of your tips mentioned here.

    • You’re amazing Rose for raising 6 kids and still doing all that you do with little sleep. I hope the future holds some good nights slumber and some of the tips help you improve the quality of sleep.

  12. Hi great info here! Is the REM timing different from everyone? Does it mean that if we catches our REM timing, we can do with lesser sleep? I am time strapped and sometimes have to sacrifice sleep in exchange for the precious time

    • Not sure about the REM timing Wendy. I think everyone would be slightly different.
      Thanks for your feedback.

  13. Wow, this is a great article. Tons of awesome tips. The fact that you wrote about needing sunlight soon after waking in order to get quality sleep at night is huge. I hadn’t heard that one before. I also agree about the electronics. All the EMFs and radiation being put off definitely mess with our bodies and especially if we are staring at phone screens before bed, that will mess with sleep majorly. I just don’t think I could sleep in a cold room like it suggests! THAT would keep me awake lol. But, otherwise, awesome tips.

  14. Hi Vince, I love this as it is full of great advice. I suffered from severe insomnia for a long time which in the end threw my hormones so out of whack that I ended up with a slow thyroid and many other issues. It was a dark time and I remember that nothing worked, even my healthy diet, getting enough sunlight, taking all my vits, exercising. I found that if my body didn’t want to sleep then there was nothing I could do, but I think this only happens when you get to a certain stage of insomnia when it becomes an actual sickness. However, the only thing that did put a stop to it was giving up sugar completely. It worked overnight and I could literally fall asleep at will. I healed my body up using this method for months, and now I am at the stage where I can eat sweet things again and use the tactics you have described above and they are enough to make me sleep. The body is strange indeed and I thought you may want to add this to your list as when you get to the worst levels of insomnia this extreme works. Well, it did for me, but we are all different and I guess my insomnia, I know now, was caused by blood sugar issues.

    • Thanks for sharing your story Stefanie.
      I too gave up sugar a few years ago and have tremendous health benefits. Its amazing that blood sugar affect your sleep but it makes so much sense.

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