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How to Get More REM Sleep

by Angela Maple

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At a Glance:

What is REM Sleep?

How Much REM Sleep Do You Need?

Deep Sleep vs REM: What’s the Difference?

How to Increase REM Sleep

3 Best Mattress to Get More REM Sleep


Why Trust Us?

Have you ever gone to bed and woken up feeling energized and ready to face the day? Great! How about the exact opposite: have you ever gone to bed only to wake up tired and ready for nothing more than to roll over and go back to sleep? We’ve all been there.

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As it turns out, not all sleep sessions are created equal: your body requires REM sleep in order to truly recharge your batteries. Sleep generally benefits your mental health and cognition — REM sleep most of all. So, what exactly is REM sleep, how does it differ from deep sleep, and what are tips for how to get more REM sleep?

Grab a cup of tea and tuck yourself in — you’re about to find out as our sleep advisors at Mattress Land weave a tale of REM sleep and its importance.

What is REM Sleep?

One of the four major sleep stages, rapid eye movement sleep (REM), is essential for brain health and emotional resilience. It is thought to be the lightest but most physically demanding of the four sleep stages. It usually starts around 90 minutes into our sleep, with periods increasing and becoming deeper as we sleep longer.

The majority of dreams occur during REM sleep. To prevent you from physically acting out your dreams, your heart rate and blood pressure nearly reach waking levels, and the muscles in your arms and legs become paralyzed. The brain consumes more oxygen than usual during REM sleep, and its activity is greatly increased.

Why Is REM Sleep Important?

REM sleep is critical for brain and body health, and a sufficient amount is required to perform at your best. It also has a significant impact on mood regulation. Furthermore, studies show that when people are deprived of REM sleep, they are less capable of remembering what they learned before falling asleep.

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

Lack of REM sleep can impair your brain’s ability to learn and form new memories. Furthermore, because the majority of your REM sleep occurs near the end of your night in bed (and after deep sleep, which your brain and body prioritize when you need to catch up on rest), a lack of REM sleep is frequently a sign of sleep deprivation. Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, dementia, depression, cardiovascular disease, and cancer have all been linked to chronic sleep deprivation.

Inadequate REM sleep has also been linked to migraines, and some medical conditions (such as sleep apnea) can have a negative impact on it.

How Much REM Sleep Do You Need?

Every night, adults must get at least seven hours of sleep. REM sleep should account for 20 to 25 percent of a person’s total sleep time. However, experts usually recommend overall sleep time rather than REM sleep, because the body self-regulates to maintain a balanced level of sleep.

Going a little short on sleep may not significantly affect REM sleep, but people experience an REM rebound effect the next time they sleep after 12 to 24 hours of sleep deprivation. This term refers to an increase in REM sleep to compensate for missed REM sleep.

What Can Affect REM Sleep?

REM sleep is part of a normal sleep cycle. Your sleep cycles are tied to your circadian rhythms, which are our internal “clocks” that maintain our body’s 24-cycles: things like sleep-wake cycles and already-healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart rate levels. So, if you disrupt your circadian rhythms, you’ll likely experience poor-quality sleep without enough REM.

The most common causes of disrupted circadian rhythms—and by association, REM sleep—come from the outside world around you: too much light (especially the artificial kind) or traveling to a different time zone (we commonly call this “jet lag”).

Deep Sleep vs REM: What’s the Difference?

Deep sleep and REM sleep are both important sleep cycle stages, but they support your body and mind in different ways and possess distinct defining characteristics. Take a look at the chart below for the difference between these sleep stages[JH1] .

rem vs

*Table courtesy of Whoop

How to Increase REM Sleep

If you’re wondering how to get more REM sleep, anything you can do to improve your overall sleep quality, habits, and behaviors will also benefit your REM cycle. The simplest solution is to simply spend more time in bed. Here are some suggestions to help you get better sleep and deeper REM cycles.

8 Tips for How to get more REM sleep

  1. Make a sleep schedule. Every day, go to bed and wake up at the same time. This prepares your body for sleep and wakefulness.
  2. Don’t consume caffeine or smoke cigarettes later in the day. These are stimulants that can disrupt sleep.
  3. Avoid alcoholic beverages late at night. Though they may make you sleepy at first, they actually disrupt sleep, particularly REM sleep.
  4. Create a relaxing sleep routine before going to bed. Warm baths, relaxing music such as classical music, and quiet reading are all excellent activities.
  5. Exercise consistently. Try to get 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily but do it several hours before bed.
  6. Create an ideal sleeping environment. That means no bright lights, extreme heat or cold, and no television or computer use in the bedroom.
  7. If you can’t sleep, don’t stay awake in bed. Get up and go into another room to do something quiet, such as reading or listening to soothing music, until you’re tired.
  8. Change your pillows. Consider replacing your pillows if you’ve had them for more than a year. This may make you feel more at ease while sleeping.

3 Best Mattress to Get More REM Sleep

As mentioned above, creating the ideal sleep environment is important to improve your sleep at every stage. What’s one of the biggest ways to do that? A new bed! Take a look at some of the coziest mattresses we’ve picked for your comfort to inspire your new bed or take one of our picks home for a good night’s sleep if it catches your eye.

Best Low Profile Foundation Mattress for REM Sleep: Kingsdown® Kingsdown Sleep-to-Live 4.5" Full Low Profile Foundation

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Eliminate tossing and turning. Sleep on this firm Low Profile foundation from Kingsdown instead for the dream-filled REM sleep experience you’ve always desired — your mind and body will thank you. A sturdy low profile foundation provides sleepers with the latest technology is support is like having a 5-star hotel experience right in your own bedroom. 

Best Queen Mattress for REM Sleep: Beautyrest® Harmony™ Cayman™ Plush Pocketed Coil Tight Top Queen Mattress

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Try this Beautyrest mattress if you’re looking for a cozy bed to get that deep REM sleep you’ve been craving at night. Our eco-friendly sleepers can sleep on breathable, moisture-wicking mattress comfort that combines NaturalCool technology with TENCEL yarn. At the same time, Seaqual fabric technology improves sustainability by transforming recovered plastics from the world’s oceans into high-quality fabrics. Your back will appreciate the plush T1 pocketed coils, Charcoal memory foam, AirCool foam, and GelTouch that will cradle and support your spine, relieving back pain.

Verified reviewers like AddyB69 are getting the best sleep they never knew they were missing: “Amazing Sleep Results!”

Best Plush Mattress for REM Sleep: Stearns & Foster® Estate® Hurston ES2 Luxury Plush Queen Mattress

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Happily, this Stearns & Forster plush queen mattress will easily whisk you away to dreamland for your full eight hours of sleep. Stearns & Foster is known for their fine craftsmanship, which is complemented by an excellent selection of high-quality materials. PrimaSense, IntelliCoil advanced, PrecisionEdge, and even PrimaCool performance has been designed to keep you dry and supported while you sleep, allowing you to drift off peacefully as your worries melt away. The S&F air ventilation layers will also keep you cool and cradled as you move through the sleep cycles, providing maximum comfort and support for sleepers.

Besides eating, drinking, and breathing, sleeping is one of the most important functions our bodies perform to keep us at tip-top performance. At Mattress Land, quality sleep is our top priority for all of our shoppers, so we make it our goal to help you create the best sleep space with mattresses, pillows, bedding, bed frames, and more to get you the eight hours you need to cycle through all stages of the sleep cycle (REM included).


Now, let’s get a refresher after all of that REM sleep information. Take a look at what some of our customers have asked us!

Is REM a good sleep?

 All sleep is important, but REM sleep is particularly necessary for dreaming, memory, emotional processing, and brain development.

What foods help REM sleep?

Eat fiber-rich foods such as broccoli and other vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. More fiber in your diet may enable you to spend more time in restorative sleep — the phases of deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep during which your body and mind regenerate the most.

 Why Trust Mattress Land?

Since 1996, Mattress Land has been making strides in the mattress industry to provide our customers the sleep experience they need — and deserve. We do that by offering the ultimate customer experience, complete with our trained experts, BedFIT™ computerized diagnostics, and our impressive showroom. We’ll make sure that you find the right sleep solution for your sleeping habits so you can feel energized in your day-to-day life.

We are also proud of our diverse, employee-driven culture, where our teams work hard toward a common goal. We know that better sleep makes all the difference, and our commitment to changing the landscape of traditional mattress shopping is how we know Mattress Land is one of the best mattress stores around.

Shop Mattresses at Mattress Land

At Mattress Land, we provide quality name-brand mattresses for great prices. Our sleep experts are always happy to help you find new ways on how to get more REM sleep. With locations throughout California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington, Mattress Land is bound to have a sleep solution for everyone. We are more accessible than ever! You can call us at 800-909-9299, visit our website to shop Mattress Land sales, and check out Mattress Land reviews online. Or better yet, stop by one of our showrooms to discover why we are everyone’s favorite local mattress store. Visit us today!

Learn More: Why Can’t I Sleep? How BedFIT Can Help with Sleep Disorders