Simple Sleep Health Solutions to Improve Your REM Sleep - MedCline

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January 05, 2024 5 min read

Quality sleep is essential for your health as it impacts your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. But good sleep is more than just the quantity you get each night— it should also consider your cycle's depth and uninterrupted flow, including your REM sleep. 

In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of quality sleep. We'll also cover the importance of REM sleep and different sleep health solutions. Here's everything you need to know to get a good night's rest. 

The Benefits of Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is imperative to both your physical and mental health. Here’s a look at how sleep affects your general well-being. 

Physical Health Benefits

  • Weight management - Sleep and weight go hand in hand. When you get less sleep, it causes you to hang on to more fat. Triggering a cortisol spike, lack of sleep throws your metabolism off track. In fact, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found significantly higher rates of obesity in adults who slept less than 7 hours each night. 
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases - According to the CDC, lack of sleep has been linked to several types of chronic conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
  • Strengthened immune system - Getting adequate sleep helps bolster the immune system, making it better equipped to fight off infections and illnesses.

    Mental Health Benefits

    • Improved mood and reduced stress - A good night's sleep can help you regulate your emotions, reducing irritability and mood swings. It can also help lower stress levels by allowing your brain to process and cope better with daily challenges. 
    • Enhanced cognitive function - Sleep affects cognitive functions like memory, attention, and problem-solving. When you get better sleep, you’re more likely to think clearly and creatively, which, in turn, helps you make better decisions at work, school, at home, etc. 
    • Increased emotional well-being - A well-rested mind can decrease your risk of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. Getting enough sleep can also positively impact your personal relationships and enhance your self-esteem with a more positive self-image. 

    Understanding Sleep Health Solutions 

    Understanding the importance of REM sleep and the different types of sleep health solutions available is helpful in addressing sleep-related problems. Here’s a look at how both impact our welfare. 

    The importance of REM sleep

    REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement and is one of two sleep stages. On a typical night, individuals alternate between REM and non-REM sleep in cycles that typically last about 90 minutes. This REM and non-REM cycle repeats throughout the night with REM sleep making up for about 20-25% of that time. 

    The first REM sleep cycle of the night is short, usually lasting about 10 minutes. But as the night progresses and you go through multiple sleep cycles, the duration of REM sleep tends to increase, with the final REM cycle often lasting up to an hour.

    During REM sleep, the brain is highly active. As a result, this stage is where your most vivid dreaming occurs. 

    The REM cycle is important because it stimulates the parts of your brain associated with memory, learning, and mood. For example, studies have shown that REM sleep plays a critical role in memory consolidation, helping your brain organize and store the information it gathers during the day. 

    When REM sleep is impaired, it’s harder to learn things and process emotions. Research has also shown that insufficient REM sleep reduces the creation of emotional memories and that changes in the REM cycle are linked to mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. 

    Tips for Improving Sleep Quality

    To take care of your REM sleep, you also need to improve your sleep quality as a whole. Here are a few ideas on how to get a better night’s sleep. 

    • Establish a consistent sleep schedule. Decide what time you want to go to sleep and wake up each day. Stick to your sleep schedule as closely as possible.
    • Create a sleep-conducive environment. Block out noise, reduce light exposure, and keep humidity and temperatures low to create a relaxing sleep environment. Investing in clinically proven pillows that support your neck and spine can also relieve symptoms of shoulder pain, acid reflux, and sleep apnea while you sleep. 
    • Implement relaxation techniques before bedtime. Use the time before bed to unwind. Read a book, stretch, meditate, or listen to calming music. 
    • Avoid stimulants and electronic devices before sleep. Avoid drinking caffeine later in the day and alcohol before you go to bed, as these stimulants can keep you up at night. Research also shows that blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm, so you’ll want to turn off your electronics for at least an hour before you go to sleep. 
    • Seek professional help if necessary. If poor sleep quality lasts for weeks or is affecting your daily life, then it’s time to talk to your doctor to discuss sleep health solutions for your specific needs. 

    Conclusion 

    Quality sleep is important to living healthy, happy lives. If you struggle with getting good sleep, different sleep health solutions can help. These strategies include getting better REM sleep by practicing good sleep hygiene in a manner of ways, from creating a consistent sleep schedule to relaxing before bed. 

    According to sleep professionals, sleeping on your side can also be a quick but effective sleep-health solution, especially if you suffer from shoulder pain, acid reflux, and sleep disorders. Incorporating medical wedge pillows, like MedCline’s Sleep Solutions, can also give you proper support on your side. 

    Unlike regular pillows and wedges, our clinically proven sleep system has a patented arm pocket that can be adjusted for optimal support. It also won’t shift around as you sleep, allowing for all-night stability and comfort. 

    For more information, head to our MedCline FAQs or reach out to our team of Sleep Specialists today. 

    Sleep Health Solutions – FAQs

    How much sleep do adults need?

    According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, most adults need at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night. 

    How can I improve my sleep quality?

    Understanding the importance of REM sleep and practicing good sleep health solutions (like creating a calm sleeping environment and turning off electronics before bed) can help improve your sleep quality. 

    What are the common reasons for poor sleep quality?

    Common causes for poor sleep quality include an uncomfortable sleep environment, bad sleep hygiene, diet, stress, chronic health problems, and sleep disorders like insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea

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