We all know sleep is important, but are you getting enough? There are so many benefits, from allowing you to make better decisions, lowering your body fat, and helping you feel more patient, alert, awake, and energetic throughout the day. So many people don’t get enough, most importantly REM sleep.
I’m going to help you understand what REM sleep is, how you can tell if you’re getting enough, and what you can do to get more.
When you sleep your brain goes through five stages of sleep. These five stages create a cycle, and you go through several cycles throughout a full night. The fifth stage of the cycle is called REM sleep. 25% of our sleep is in this cycle that is if you’re getting enough in general. REM only occurs after you’ve been asleep for 90 minutes, the time it takes to go through stages 1-4. In this stage is when your brain and body organize. Throughout the day we take in so much stimuli and the brain has to organize it and store it, which is done while you sleep. This is also the only time your brain has to remove toxins, something it can’t do while you’re awake and using it. Without REM sleep nothing gets processed and those toxins build up, leading to chronic sleep deprivation.
How to tell if you’re getting enough
The biggest way to tell if you’re getting enough REM sleep is if you sit down you fall asleep quickly. I’m talking about when you sit down to watch your favorite show, or spend some cuddle time with your kids. This would always happen to me if I were a passenger in the car, or lay down on the couch to watch a movie. If this happens to you, and as soon as you close your eyes you start to dream, you aren’t getting enough REM sleep. If when you do get eight or nine hours of sleep you wake up tired, there’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough.
How to get more
We’re all looking for the key to getting more rest, like there’s a secret but here’s the truth, you just have to do it. You have to get to bed earlier, have to wind down and create a peaceful environment, and give yourself time to create a new routine and schedule. I used to work late into the night and go to bed at 1AM only to wake up with the alarm at 5:30AM and do the next day. This has to change. You need to get eight solid hours, not in bed for eight hours but actually asleep for eight hours. The easiest way to do this is to head to turn out the lights 15 minutes earlier. You need to make it a priority and it can only be done if you change how you do things. Work can wait, and family time is important, but your health is the most important.
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