How to Increase REM Sleep in 8 Ways

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

How to increase rem sleep

We spend almost a third of our lives asleep, so there are many health benefits to getting good quality sleep. But there are also negative effects if you don’t get enough REM sleep. In this article, I’ll talk about how to increase REM sleep in several ways.

Why Is REM Sleep Important?

REM (rapid eye movement) cycle is the fifth stage of sleep. It takes place during the last third of the night, after you have been asleep for about 90 minutes. The first REM cycle happens about 70 minutes after you fall asleep. As you continue sleeping, your REM cycles get longer—the fourth and fifth cycles can be as long as an hour.

REM is important for sleep because it helps you process the day’s events and make connections between them. It also helps improve your memory and makes you more alert when you wake up in the morning. This phase is also characterized by increased brain activity—and even though you’re technically awake during this stage, the brain activity resembles that of a person who is dreaming.

During the REM cycle, your brain goes through a “paradoxical” phase where it seems to be awake but isn’t. It’s during this phase that you experience vivid dreams and might even shout out or get up and move around without realizing it.

What Makes You Lose REM Sleep?

1. Stress: Stress is the number one cause of insomnia, and it can cause REM sleep to disappear. The body’s fight-or-flight response is triggered by stressors like a bad day at work or family issues. When this happens, your brain releases hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones are responsible for increasing blood flow to the muscles, which can keep you awake.

2. Medications: Some medications have side effects that prevent you from achieving REM sleep, including some antidepressants and painkillers. To counter this, most people look for a good natural sleep aid.

3. Alcohol: Consuming alcohol before bed can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough REM Sleep?

If you don’t get enough REM sleep, you could experience an array of negative consequences Here are five of them:

brown sleeping eye mask

1. You’ll have trouble learning new information.

2. Your mood will be unstable and you’ll have trouble regulating it.

3. Your body will have a harder time repairing itself after injury or illness.

4. Your immune system will be compromised, which means it may be more difficult to fight off infections and diseases.

5. You’ll feel physically exhausted all the time.

8 Ways to Get Better REM Sleep

“How do I improve my REM sleep?”

Here are 8 ways how to enhance REM sleep:

1. Check Your Snooze Schedule

A good night’s sleep is important for your body and mind. A good sleeping schedule can help you get a better night’s rest.

You may be able to improve your REM sleep by getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, especially on weekends. You should also avoid naps during the day. If you do have a nap, make sure it’s not too long—no more than 20 minutes.

2. Minimize Caffeine and Cigarettes

To improve your REM sleep, try to minimize consumption of caffeine or cigarettes later in the day. You can start by taking a look at how much caffeine you consume during the day.

It’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages after lunchtime, and to limit your intake overall to less than 300 milligrams per day (that’s roughly two cups of coffee). If you’re someone who tends to drink a lot of coffee throughout the day, we recommend cutting back gradually so that your body has time to adapt.

And if you smoke cigarettes at all? I recommend quitting altogether. Smoking is linked with poor quality REM sleep, which can lead to a number of health problems in addition to making it harder for people to learn new things.

3. Limit or Eliminate Alcohol Intake

While alcohol can make you feel relaxed and sleepy, it actually reduces REM sleep by an average of 10%. This means that if you have a drink before bedtime, it will take longer for you to fall asleep and your sleep may not be as restorative as it could be.

drink before bed

4. Design Your Bedtime Routine

Put together a relaxing sleep routine before bed is one way to improve your REM sleep. This can include taking a hot bath, reading a book in dim light, or listening to soothing music.

5. Move!

Make sure that you’re getting enough exercise during the day—but not too close to bedtime. A good amount of exercise helps with sleep quality but too much exercise right before bedtime can be counterproductive because it revs up your metabolism and keeps you alert instead of relaxing into sleep mode.

6. Make Your Environment Conducive to Sleep

Make sure you’re keeping your room dark. A dark room helps signal to your brain that it’s time for sleep, so turning out the lights when it’s bedtime will help train your body to know when it needs to start shutting down.

Next, try turning off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime. This means no TV, no laptops, no phones—nothing.

Electronics emit light into our eyes even when they’re turned off, which can make it harder for us to fall asleep. Eliminate any distractions by putting away all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime so that there’s nothing vying for your attention once you climb into bed.

7. If You Feel Like You Are Not Ready to Sleep Just Yet, Don’t Force It

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s tempting to just lie in bed awake and wait for morning. But research shows that this is actually the worst thing you can do for the quality of your REM sleep. So what should you do instead? A few things:

  • Do something relaxing—like reading or listening to music—for about 20 minutes before going to bed.
  • If possible, get up for a short period of time before returning to bed, or else use the bathroom (which will help clear out your bladder).
  • Don’t watch TV or use other screens right before sleeping.

8. Check Your Pillows

If you’ve been having trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep, or waking up feeling groggy and tired, you may want to take a look at your pillow. A bad pillow can cause neck pain and headaches, which can make it even harder to fall asleep.

The fact is, most people are using the wrong pillows for their sleep needs. Pillows are not one-size-fits-all—they’re actually made for different kinds of sleepers and different kinds of positions.

pillows for bed

If you’re sleeping on your back, a firmer pillow will give your neck the support it needs. If you’re sleeping on your side, a softer pillow is better because it will mold around your head and neck to support them in alignment with each other.

And if you sleep on your stomach (which we don’t recommend), then a very soft pillow will help keep your head from falling forward onto the mattress. So go ahead—check the quality of your pillow. It could be just what you need to improve your REM sleep.

Supplements to Improve REM Sleep

Your body’s internal clock has two phases: wakefulness and sleep. Wakefulness is controlled by sunlight and your circadian rhythm, while REM sleep is controlled by melatonin production in your brain.

You may have heard that taking melatonin supplements can help you fall asleep faster, but they’re not the only option for improving REM sleep. There are many natural supplements that also have sleep-enhancing properties, and supplements for better mood.

If you are a busybody, or an elderly sleeping a lot, or simply someone who would like to improve their sleep, you might want to try one of these natural supplements for improving REM sleep: Serenity supplement.

Here is a comparative table of Serenity along other leading brands for REM sleep enhancement:

PRODUCT NAMESerenity Mood EnhancementSleep support+Nature’s Bounty Melatonin 5mg Dual SpectrumNOW Supplements, L-Theanine 200 mg with Inositol, Stress Management
IngredientsVitamin C, B6, Magnesium, Valerian Root Extract, Passion flower, St. John’s Wort Extract, Griffonia Simplicifolia Extract, GABA, Hop Flower Extract, Lemon Balm, Ashwagandha Root Extract, Holy Basil Leaf Extract, L-Theanine, Magnolia Bark Extract, PABA, Chamomile Flower Extract, L-TaurineMagnesium bisglycinate, Jujube, Pharmagaba Vegetable Magnesium Stearate, Vegetable Cellulose, Triacetin, Vegetable Stearic Acid, Dicalcium Phosphate, Contains <2% of: Silica, Vegetable Juice ColorL-Theanine, Inositol, silica, vegetable polysa haride, and magnesium stearate as vegetable source
Best FeaturesSerenity is a new breakthrough sleep supplement that is designed to wake you up feeling more like a SuperHumn, with more energy, focus, and stamina than you’ve ever felt before. Serenity also provides:·  Better Rest & Sleep·  Better Mental & Physical Recovery·  Provides Adrenal Support·  More Energy & Better MoodSleep support+ is a ground-breaking product that fosters deep and regenerative sleep without the use of a prescription. It promotes relaxation and relaxes the overactive mind. Their formula is melatonin-free. Melatonin might make you feel sleepy in the morning, and over time, you can acquire a tolerance to it, making it even harder to drift off to sleep naturally.Nature’s Bounty Dual Spectrum Melatonin tablets contain both fast release and delayed release Melatonin layers, which aid in falling and staying asleep. It also naturally supports rest and relaxation, which can help with occasional sleeplessness and allow you to have a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling rejuvenated.Relaxes the body without causing sleepiness or having negative side effects like other calming medications. The formulation contains inositol, a B-vitamin that is necessary for the mind and nervous system’s health.

When to Visit Your Doctor?

When you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, it can be hard to know when you should visit your doctor. Here are some guidelines:

If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or if you feel like your sleep is too “light,” it may be time to see an expert.

If you have a medical condition that affects your sleep (like diabetes or heart disease), talk to your doctor about what medications might help and what treatments could help manage your REM cycle.

If you’ve had a traumatic event in your life, it may affect your REM cycles. Talk to your doctor about how best to cope with these changes so that they don’t become permanent problems in their own right.

FAQs About REM Sleep

Why Is My Rem Sleep So Low?

Here are some of the most common reasons why your REM sleep may be low:

  • You have a medical condition (like sleep apnea, anxiety or depression) that is preventing you from getting enough sleep. If this is the case, it’s very important that you speak with your doctor immediately.
  • You’ve gone through a major life change recently (such as a new job or moving). This can take some time to adjust to and may affect your sleep cycle for a while.
  • You are taking medication that has been known to cause REM issues in some people. If this is the case for you, please talk with your doctor about switching medications or changing how much medicine you take at night so that it doesn’t interfere with your REM sleep cycle any more than necessary.

Can You Increase REM?

Yes. There are a few ways you can increase your REM sleep. The first thing you should do is figure out what kind of sleep schedule works best for you.

If you’re a night owl, try going to bed earlier and waking up later, so that your body can adjust and start producing more REM sleep. If morning people are more your style, try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day so that your body can adjust for that rhythm.

woman sleeping cozy

You can also try increasing the total amount of time spent sleeping in a day. This is especially important if you’re finding that you don’t get enough sleep at night because of work or other obligations—it’s best to make sure that the time spent sleeping during the day is enough to balance out what’s being lost at night.

Another option is using an app like Fitbit; they help guide users toward better sleep by monitoring their movements during slumber and providing tips on how to improve their habits as well as recommendations for products such as pillows or mattresses (as well as apps).

Can You Induce REM Sleep?

No. There is no natural way to induce REM sleep, but by trying the tips I provided above, you can improve your REM sleep.

What Substances Increase REM Sleep?

REM sleep is the stage of sleep where we have the most vivid dreams. It’s also the stage of sleep when your body releases chemicals that help you process emotions and memories. The substances that increase REM sleep are:

  • Adenosine, which causes drowsiness and helps you fall asleep
  • Neurotransmitters, which activate certain areas of the brain during REM sleep
  • Serotonin, which helps regulate moods

How Can I Improve REM Sleep?

Simply follow the suggestions above and see which one works best for you. 


So how do you improve REM sleep? When you aren’t getting enough REM sleep, the feelings of exhaustion and fatigue will be apparent.

You will feel the need to sleep more often throughout the day, or even at night. When this occurs, it is important that you concentrate on your diet and try to improve your sleeping habits as much as possible.

This will help your body return to a normal routine, and a better night’s rest. Try Serenity, one of the bestselling supplements to enhance REM sleep and help your body in its regeneration.

You might also want to try the Superhumn Jumpstart program, to add to your wellness routine. Join our free Facebook group for more great content on health and longevity – as you get surrounded by a very supportive community!

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