REM sleep

REM stands for rapid eye movement when you sleep. It is at this stage of sleep that many of the body functions related to memory and other processing mechanisms happen. It’s crucial for adults to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. 

At REM sleep your eyes move quickly behind closed eyelids and you also have vivid dreams. Experts say REM is sleep is vital for a healthy brain and body. It plays a role in dreaming, memory, emotion processings and prepares the body for waking up. 

It helps with cognitive abilities, builds memory and problem-solving skills. REM sleep also helps with cellular repair and the immune system. 

Reasons for poor quality REM sleep 

You may not be getting good REM sleep if you have a sleeping disorder, suffer from sleep deprivation, take antidepressant medications or use substances like alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. Even something like being exposed to artificial light at night can disrupt your circadian rhythm and therefore sleep. 

Things you can do to help improve the quality of your sleep 

  • Set and fix time and keep a sleep schedule. Try and go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. 
  • Pick a time that allows you to get enough sleep for someone your age. 
  • Train your brain that sleep is going to happen soon with a fixed routine. This helps mentally to prepare your mind and body for sleep.
  • Go to bed only when you feel sleepy, if you’re not feeling sleeping enough try some activities that will help you unwind such as reading or light stretching. 
  • Avoid electronic stimulation in the form of mobile phones or too much television. 
  • Don’t drink alcohol or eat a meal too close to bedtime. If you really feel hungry towards bedtime, opt for a very light snack. Also don’t have too many beverages before you sleep as going to the bathroom many times in the night will keep you up. 
  • Do some physical activity during the day so it’s easier to fall asleep at night. Even a walk will help a lot. 
  • Don’t use your bedroom as an office or a place to do work because that can keep you up even when you’re not working. 

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