Sleep not working like it’s supposed to? We feel you. For centuries, scientists believed sleep was simply a period of rest and relaxation. It was not until researchers discovered REM sleep. We’ll discuss why REM sleep is important, how much REM sleep you need, and how to get more REM sleep if you are not getting enough.
Insomnia, sleeping disorders, and chronic sleep deprivation all commonly result in a lack of REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep. It may not seem like it directly impacts your health, however lack of REM sleep can have a serious impact on the quality of your daily life and health. Sleep is important for both the body and the mind, and without it one tends to notice other areas of their life lacking significantly. Whether it’s lack of concentration, weakened immune system, or even affecting your temper and overall mood, quality and amount of sleep is crucial to your health.
What the Heck is REM Anyways?
A lot happens in our bodies while we sleep. We cycle between what’s called non-REM (NREM) and REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement because, during parts of REM sleep, our eyes move rapidly in different directions, which doesn’t happen during non-REM sleep.
We go through four stages in the human sleep cycle, and they occur in order, as follows:
1. Non-REM Sleep Stage 1 (NREM-1)
2. Non-REM Sleep Stage 2 (NREM-2)
3. Non-REM Sleep Stage 3 (NREM-3)
4. REM Sleep (REM)
This cycle repeats four or five times over the course of a night’s sleep and is known as the four stages of human sleep.
Our body cycles through the four stages of sleep multiple times over the course of the night. The first three stages of sleep are non-REM, followed by a shorter period of REM sleep, and then the cycle starts over again. Most adults go through 4 to 5 complete sleep cycles per night over a 6 to 8 hour period. Many people associate dreams with REM sleep because this is the stage where most dreams occur.
As you can imagine, each sleep stage plays a critical role in our health and recovery, so efficiently cycling through all four stages of sleep throughout the night is key to getting the best sleep ever. So how do we get more REM in our lives? Many turn to pharmaceuticals where the benefits might be smaller, and the risks greater, than you expect…
The Problem with Sleeping Pills
In a July 2018 Consumer Reports survey of 1,767 U.S. adults, nearly one-third of people who complained of sleep problems at least once per week said they had used an over-the-counter or prescription sleep drug in the previous year.
But many of those people don’t get the restful night’s sleep they seek. Only about a third of people who took sleep medications—either OTC or prescription—reported very good or excellent sleep on those nights. What’s more, prescription sleeping aids can be highly addictive and are not meant to be used long-term.
However, there are 5 natural solutions to get better sleep. Here are 5 solutions that you can try out tonight.
1. Turn Off Electronic Devices
Turning off your phone and limiting screen time at night before you go to bed gives your brain and body the opportunity to relax before falling asleep. Blue light exposure in excess can disrupt melatonin production, which is a hormone also common to take as a nightly supplement which helps to regulate the circadian sleep-wake rhythm and tells the brain when it’s time to sleep.
New versions of iPhones and Samsung smartphones have night mode, which gives off orange light instead of the more harmful blue light. Instead of scrolling through TikTok for 30 minutes before bed, we suggest reading a book or drawing.
2. Get Regular Exercise
Working exercise into your daily routine will help to regulate several body functions, even your sleep cycle. Specifically, any type of exercise from moderate to vigorous helps to increase sleep quality for adults by reducing sleep onset – or the time it takes to fall asleep – and decrease the amount of time that you may lie awake in bed during the night.
3. Say “No” to the Nightcap
Don’t shoot the messenger, but that glass of wine you have to help you sleep may actually be hindering your ability to sleep soundly. Drinking alcohol before bed can add to the suppression of REM sleep during the first two cycles. Since alcohol is a sedative, the onset for sleep cycles is typically shorter for drinkers and some fall into deep sleep rather quickly. As the night progresses, this can create an imbalance between slow-wave sleep and REM sleep, resulting in less of the latter and more of the former. This decreases overall sleep quality, which can result in shorter sleep duration and more sleep disruptions.
If you drink before bed, probably you experience disruptions in your sleep later in their sleep cycle as your liver enzymes metabolize alcohol. This can also lead to sleepiness during the daytime and other issues the following day. If you’re looking for other reasons to quit the booze, check out our blog on going alcohol-free with CBD here.
4. Resist Caffeine Late in the Day
The late afternoon coffees many of us know and love may be affecting your quality of sleep and potential lack of REM sleep. Of course, caffeine is helpful in improving your concentration, alertness and energy. However, the effects of caffeine are counterproductive when it comes to your sleep cycle. One study found that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime reduced total sleep time by 1 hour. These effects also can be stronger in older adults, because it takes their bodies a longer time to process caffeine.
5. CBD Supplements
One of the best ways to supplement your body for bed to ensure better sleep is CBD. Studies show that CBD can also assist in achieving longer and higher quality sleep. To understand how CBD is helpful in aiding sleep, we also have to understand the endocannabinoid system and how it supports homeostasis in the body. Essentially, it works by interacting with the different cannabinoids in our bodies. To give you a visual of how this works in the body, imagine that each cannabinoid is a “key” that fits into and “locks” onto the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies.
Preliminary studies suggest CBD can help with a number of sleep disorders, including insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness disorder.
- Research published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and or reduce anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects, with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The subjects were each given 25 milligrams (mg) of CBD each day. In the first month, 79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 percent reported better sleep.
- Pain, which may also cause sleep problems, can be helped by CBD as well. A 2018 review in Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that there’s a fair amount of evidence to support the claim that CBD soothes pain. The authors note that by reducing chronic pain, CBD can improve sleep.
- Other research tells us that CBD affects the sleep cycle. Research from 2014 looked at four patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that CBD improved the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a disorder in which a person acts out their dreams. RBD is associated with poor sleep and nightmares.
- A 2017 review also noted that CBD may be helpful in treating RBD, and that it shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, might also be affected by CBD. A 2014 review found that CBD could have the potential to promote wakefulness, based on both human and animal research.
A great option to start with if you want to try supplements of CBD for sleep would be our premium CBD Oil Tinctures. Like our Full Spectrul 1000mg CBD Oil Tincture. Simply drop your desired amount under the tongue 20 mins before bedtime to help you drift off.
CBD tinctures may help manage many conditions when taken consistently as a supplement in your daily regimen. Our Full Spectrum CBD oil tinctures can assist you in regulating sleep, pain relief, inflammation, anxiety, recovery, appetite, mood, and numerous other conditions.
Another great way to reap the sleep is by taking a long warm CBD bath. To achieve optimal relaxation, add 1 cup of lost rangebath salts or CBD Bath Bomb Powder to a warm bath and soak for 10+ minutes.
Irregular sleep and the side effects that come with it may be negatively affecting your health now, but it can quickly be reversed. There are several ways to improve your sleep pattern, and CBD supplements are proven to help regulate sleep cycles and allow you deeper and more relaxing REM sleep. If you would like to know more about our products and brand, our staff is always at your service for any questions. Contact us here today.