How to Get Better REM Sleep All Night (In Just a Few Easy Steps)


5 min read SLEEP
Woman sleeping in light blue pajamas and plush teal bedding

The Main Point About REM Sleep

Achieving enough Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is crucial for cognitive function, mood stability, and overall well-being, and improving your REM sleep can often be achieved with a few simple lifestyle adjustments and sleep habits.

Learning how to get more REM sleep and better REM sleep — not to be confused with the popular rock band! — could significantly enhance your sleep quality and quality of life every day.

Why REM Sleep Matters for YOU

REM sleep plays a vital role in memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and even physical health. Not getting enough of this important deep sleep stage can lead to lower quality sleep, poor health, deteriorated well-being, and even a sleep disorder(s).

REM Stat Line

Did you know that REM sleep accounts for about 20-25% (about 2 hours nightly, assuming seven to nine hours of sleep) of an adult's sleep cycle. Not getting enough REM sleep could potentially lead to mood swings, lowered immunity, and impaired cognitive function. REM sleep is one of several stages of sleep and is particularly associated with dreaming, memory, and other important neurological functions. (Of course, it's worth noting that the exact percentage can vary between individuals based on how much sleep you need, and it can also be influenced by factors like age, sleep quality, time spent falling asleep, sleep disorder presence, and disrupted sleep, so these are general averages.)


“Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep serves an important function for processing and consolidating emotional memory,” REM stage researchers say. In terms of brain activity, they went on to write, “A recent study shows that restless REM sleep impedes this overnight process, providing insights into psychological disorders marked by fragmented REM sleep.” [SOURCE]

But how...?

The REM sleep stage, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement sleep (as opposed to NREM sleep, or non rapid eye movement sleep), is one of the vital stages in your sleep cycle. As one group of researchers writes, “REM sleep is many things. It is a behavioral state, a brain state, a dream state, and a paradoxical state. It is produced by complex and anatomically distributed neural circuits that give rise to a variety of individual components: muscle paralysis, rapid eye movements, an activated cerebral cortex, and so on.” In other words, it's a time when the brain is almost as active as when you're awake! Factors such as sleep schedule, sleep apnea, and even certain sleep aids can affect or even interfere with REM sleep.

And why...?

The disruption of REM sleep and lost REM sleep have been linked to a host of issues, including sleep disorders like sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, and even changes in mood and mental state. The importance of REM sleep goes beyond just feeling well-rested; it plays a critical role in your overall health. For one telling example, during REM sleep, the muscles in the body become relaxed, including the muscles in the throat. This makes it more likely for the airway to collapse and cause sleep apnea.

Also Read: Pillows To Fight Sleep Apnea

REM Sleep Stage Analogy

Think of REM sleep patterns as the deep-cleaning phases in a housekeeping routine. During the day, your house (the brain) becomes cluttered with toys, dishes, and all kinds of miscellaneous items (memories, emotions, experiences). While regular cleaning like sweeping and dusting (other sleep stages) is necessary to maintain order, you still need that occasional deep clean (when REM sleep occurs) to truly refresh your living space. This involves not just tidying up, but also scrubbing the floors, cleaning out the fridge, and maybe even rearranging the furniture. Skipping this deep-cleaning phase means that, over time, clutter accumulates, making the house less comfortable and efficient. Similarly, missing out on REM sleep can leave your "mental house" in disarray, affecting your mood, memory, and overall cognitive function.

One-Sentence Summary

While both light sleep and deep sleep are crucial aspects of getting enough sleep, getting sufficient REM sleep is crucial for quality sleep, as well as for maintaining and improving your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Case in Point

A study found that ”one aspect that clearly emerges from the available literature is that sleep reduction as currently occurs in our 24/7 society has a profound impact on sleep quality, and artificial light at night (LAN) has extended the average length of the day and delayed the secretion of melatonin.”

For the Skeptics

While REM sleep periods might seem like just another sleep stage, the researchers go on to say just how much REM sleep matters: “The habitual sleep period has to fit within what is a limited nighttime window and may not be sufficient to satisfy the whole sleep process, especially sacrificing the last part of the sleep period, which contains the larger quota of REM sleep.”

What to Do:

  1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule in tune with your circadian rhythm, in order to fall asleep quickly, get better sleep, normalize your sleep-wake cycle, and increase REM sleep (as well as slow wave sleep - also known as deep sleep).

  2. Practice sleep hygiene habits by creating a relaxing bedtime ritual and ensure that your mattress, pillow, and bedding are suited to your personal sleep preferences to fall asleep easily and potentially get more REM sleep.

  3. Consider speaking to a healthcare provider to treat sleep disorders (potentially with sleep medications if advised by your doctor) that might be affecting your REM cycle and ensure you get a good night's sleep each night.

Next Steps

If you're concerned about not getting enough REM sleep or how your environment may affect REM sleep for you or your family, consider utilizing modern sleep aids, such as ergonomic pillows from Sleep 365,  designed to enhance your sleep quality and don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare provider for a personalized treatment plan.


Note: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Always consult a physician or medical professional when making decisions that affect your own or your family’s health and well-being.

Recent Posts

My Cart

Free Shipping on Most Products

Free Shipping on Most Products

Free Returns Too!

100-Night Trial Period

100-Night Trial Period

Guaranteed Comfort


Our Sleep Consultants Recommend

  • Sale

+ Select Options

You've not added anything to your cart yet.


Secure Payment

  • american_express
  • apple_pay
  • diners_club
  • discover
  • facebook_pay
  • google_pay
  • master
  • paypal
  • shopify_pay
  • venmo
  • visa