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There’s nothing worse than waking up to your alarm only to feel like you never slept at all. Both quality and quantity of sleep are important. Many sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are caused by a lack of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Not getting enough REM sleep can have a serious impact on your health and quality of life.
Quality sleep is important for physical and mental health. Not getting enough sleep does much more than leave you feeling drowsy the next morning. Without good sleep, it’s much harder to concentrate, you’re more likely to be irritable, and your immune system is weaker.
Chronic sleep deprivation can have lasting effects on your health and well-being. This is why it’s so important to get the right amount of good sleep each night.
Tired of being tired? Want peace of mind knowing that you’re giving your mind and body the rest it needs so that you can feel your best from the inside out? Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of REM sleep, including why it’s so important and tip tops to get more of it.
What is REM sleep?
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is one of two forms of sleep. REM sleep typically occurs around 90 minutes after you fall asleep. The first stage lasts about 10 minutes, with the later REM stages getting longer as the night goes on. The final stage of REM sleep can last up to an hour.
During this phase of sleep, your eyes move rapidly, breathing becomes irregular, and your heart rate increases. In other stages of sleep, the brain waves slow down. However, during REM sleep, the brain is extremely active, which causes brain waves to become quite variable.
During this sleep stage, your body operates very similarly to how it does when you’re awake. The only difference is that your eyes are closed and there’s a temporary loss of muscle tone.
Because the brain is more active, you're more likely to have intense dreams during REM sleep. It's interesting to note that adults only spend about 20% of their sleep in the REM stage, while babies spend about 50%.
When does REM sleep occur and how much do I need?
Most people enter the first cycle of REM sleep anywhere from 60-90 minutes after falling asleep. While you're snoozing and catching Zzzs, your brain and body cycle through four different stages of sleep several times. Each cycle takes just 90-120 minutes to complete. With each completed cycle, you spend more time in REM sleep.
The four stages of sleep are:
Stage 1 (light sleep)
Stage 2 (light sleep)
Stage 3 (deep sleep)
Stage 4 (REM sleep)
REM sleep is most important when we're infants and young children. This is because the brain is still developing, which explains why most newborns spend around eight hours in REM sleep each night.
Typically, most adults only need about two hours of REM sleep each night. Your sleep patterns change from day-to-day, depending on your biological needs. Similarly, how much time you spend in each sleep stage also varies.
Why REM sleep is important
All sleep is important, but REM sleep is particularly vital. It plays an important role in memory, brain development, emotional processing, and dreaming. While you may think that not much happens when you sleep, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your brain is busy at work!
Here are some important things your brain does during REM sleep.
During REM sleep, your brain processes new things, such as information and motor skills. This information is then committed to memory while other information is maintained or removed altogether. While memory consolidation takes place in non-REM deep sleep, it’s most active during REM sleep.
Supports brain development
Researchers hypothesize that REM sleep promotes brain development. Because newborns spend more than 50% of their sleep time in REM sleep, it’s thought that this sleep stage promotes, enables, and supports a developing brain.
Your brain processes all sorts of emotions during REM sleep. During this stage, your dreams are more vivid, likely because they involve emotional processing. It’s also worth noting that the amygdala, the area of the brain that controls emotional processing, is activated during REM sleep.
Most of your dreams occur during REM sleep. While you do dream during non-REM stages, REM dreams are often more vivid and intense.
Preparing for wakefulness
During REM sleep, the brain activates the central nervous system, which helps us to wake up. It’s thought that because we spend more time in REM sleep as the night progresses, it’s easier to wake up (or be woken up!) during this stage.
Top 15 supplements for better sleep
Sometimes we all need a little help to get the sleep we need at night. The good news is that there are hundreds of sleep supplements that are specially formulated to help you get the rest you need so that you can wake up feeling ready to take on the day.
Because there are so many sleep products to choose from, it can be hard to know which one to choose. If you’re ready to get the restful sleep that you need, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve researched the top 15 sleep supplements that help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Keep reading to learn about our most recommended sleep products so that you can wake up as the best version of yourself.
Active ingredients: Melatonin
Price: $44.99 for 30 gummies
Sometimes the simplest formulas are the best. Elm & Rye Melatonin Gummies is backed by the all natural power of melatonin. These melatonin gummies help you fall and stay asleep all night long so that you can wake up feeling alert and ready to face whatever may come your way.
Elm & Rye Melatonin Gummies are made with pure, sustainably sourced ingredients. They don't contain any common allergens like gluten, soy, or dairy. They're also made without GMOs and preservatives, which means you can buy and use them with total confidence.
Just one gummy at night is all you need to get the sleep you deserve.
Active ingredients: CBD isolate or full spectrum CBD and melatonin
Price: $55 for 30 gummies
Who says a sweet and sour treat before bedtime can’t help you sleep better than ever? Penguin CBD + Melatonin Gummies are made with high quality CBD along with melatonin to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Each gummy contains 10mg of CBD, which works to ease stress and anxiety while also minimizing aches and pains that keep you up at night. A single gummy will help you drift off to sleep so that you can wake up rejuvenated.
Choose from sour worms or gummy bears, however you prefer to end your night! Penguin CBD + Melatonin Gummies are also available in THC or full-spectrum formulas.
Active ingredients: Delta-8 THC
Price: $75.00 for 30 gummies
Do you spend your nights tossing and turning? Do racing thoughts keep you from getting the rest you need? By adding Everest Delta-8 Gummies to your nighttime routine, you can finally wake up feeling your best.
These gummies are made with high-quality hemp that’s grown in the USA using natural farming practices. Each gummy contains 20mg of delta-8 THC, which will ease you into a relaxing high. Amazingly your stress, worries, and pain will drift into the ether!
Everest Delta-8 Gummies are available in three delicious flavors, including Blue Raspberry, Watermelon, and Peach. All flavors are vegan and non-GMO.
Active ingredients: Magnesium, jujube, and PharmaGABA
Price: $60 for 60 capsules
mindbodygreen sleep support+ is designed to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling more refreshed.* It’s a powerful blend of magnesium bisglycinate, jujube, and PharmaGABA®. These ingredients work together to calm overactive minds and promote relaxation without causing morning drowsiness. And unlike melatonin, the non-hormonal formula won’t disrupt your natural sleep architecture. Try the best-seller for 15% off with code NEW15.
5. Life Extension Herbal Sleep PM
Active ingredients: Honokiol, lemon balm extract, and chamomile extract
Price: $18.00 for 30 capsules
Looking for a melatonin-free supplement that promotes healthy sleep quality and quantity? Check out Life Extension Herbal Sleep PM. This nighttime supplement is made with a science-based formulation of honokiol, lemon balm, and chamomile. Together these all natural ingredients promote healthy sleep so that you can wake up feeling nothing short of amazing.
Life Extension Herbal Sleep PM works by targeting various sleep centers in the brain. It also calms your mind so that you can fall asleep and stay asleep. It even supports a healthy response to stress by relaxing the nervous system.
Life Extension Herbal Sleep PM is manufactured in the USA and is third party tested for purity and potency. Getting good sleep has never been easier!
6. Beam Dream Powder
Active ingredients: Nano hemp, reishi, magnesium, L-theanine, and melatonin
Price: $95 for 30 servings
Beam Dream Powder offers much more than quality shuteye. Each sip provides your body with sleep-enhancing nutrients, including L-theanine, magnesium, reishi, and nano hemp. The addition of melatonin helps to regulate your body's circadian rhythm.
This nighttime cup of hot cocoa will help you fall asleep faster while also improving your sleep quality. Simply mix one scoop of powder with a cup of hot milk or water. Enjoy at least 30 minutes before bedtime so that you can enjoy your deepest night's sleep ever.
Beam Dream Powder is gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and doesn't contain any GMOs. It's also keto friendly!
7. Nested Naturals Luna
Active ingredients: L-theanine, valerian root, chamomile extract, passionflower extract, lemon balm extract, hops extract, GABA, and melatonin
Price: $18.95 for 60 capsules
Enjoy a healthy, balanced sleep schedule along with higher quality sleep with Nested Naturals Luna. This herbal sleep supplement is made with a blend of safe, all-natural ingredients like L-theanine, valerian root, chamomile extract, passionflower extract, lemon balm extract, hops extract, GABA, and melatonin.
When taken as directed, Luna will help you to set a healthier sleep pattern while also ensuring you wake up feeling refreshed. Just two capsules at night relaxes your mind and body and promotes deeper sleep.
Nested Naturals Luna is vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. The sleep supplement is also tested by a third party lab for purity and potency.
8. Primal Harvest Primal Sleep
Active ingredients: Valerian root, L-tryptophan, GABA, chamomile extract, lemon balm extract, magnesium, hops extract, lavender, and melatonin
Price: $29.95 for 30 servings
Primal Harvest Primal Sleep is an all-natural sleep aid for better sleep. This bedtime blend promotes restoratives, slow-wave deep sleep while also supporting stress and mood support. These convenient capsules also reinforce healthy sleep habits!
Each capsule provides an optimized blend of valerian root, L-tryptophan, GABA, chamomile extract, lemon balm extract, magnesium, hops extract, lavender, and melatonin. When combined, these ingredients make great sleep your reality.
Primal Harvest Primal Sleep is made in the USA in a GMP-certified facility. This means that you can use this product with total peace of mind. These sleep capsules are dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.
9. OLLY Extra Strength Sleep Gummies
Active ingredients: L-theanine, melatonin, chamomile extract, passionflower extract, and lemon balm extract
Price: $15.99 for 25 servings
OLLY Extra Strength Sleep Gummies is proof that nature can be quite relaxing. Get a boost for the ultimate sleep each night with these yummy blackberry-flavored gummies. Despite their size, these gummies are loaded with a high dose of melatonin, L-theanine, and botanicals to help you drift off to sleep.
The extra sleep blend not only promotes restful sleep, it calms the mind and body so that you can feel relaxed and serene. Enjoy non-habit-forming sleep support each night with OLLY Extra Strength Sleep Gummies.
These sleep gummies are gluten-free and don't contain any artificial flavors or colors. Chew your way to sound sleep!
10. Bright Brain Crash And Reboot
Active ingredients: Valerian, citicoline, L-tryptophan, and melatonin
Price: $35.99 for 30 capsules
Dreaming of a deep night's sleep that leaves you feeling rested and revitalized? Introducing Bright Brain Crash And Reboot. This nootropic sleep aid works differently than most supplements. It uses all-natural ingredients that target pathways in the brain to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, allowing your brain and body to recover.
Each capsule contains a precise blend of valerian, citicoline, L-tryptophan, and melatonin. Together these compounds promote feelings of calmness while reducing stress and anxiety. The end result is enhanced sleep.
For improved sleep quality, vitality, recovery, and neuroprotection, Bright Brain Crash And Reboot is the sleep supplement for you.
11. Goli Nutrition Dreamy Sleep Gummies
Active ingredients: Melatonin, magnesium, lemon balm, vitamin D, chamomile extract, passion flower extract, and tart cherry powder
Price: $16.15 for 60 gummies
Sleep better and for longer with Goli Nutrition Dreamy Sleep Gummies. These delicious gummies are made with melatonin, magnesium, lemon balm, and vitamin D to help you get the best sleep ever. The brand even has a proprietary sleep blend that combines chamomile extract, passion flower extract, and tart cherry powder.
Each gummy contains the perfect dose of each ingredient so that you can wake up feeling rested and refreshed. The best part is that Dreamy Sleep Gummies are extremely affordable.
Goli Nutrition Dreamy Sleep Gummies are vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and kosher!
12. Som Sleep
Active ingredients: Magnesium, vitamin B6, L-theanine, GABA, and melatonin
Price: $29.99 for 12 pack
Looking for a new nightly drink? Introducing Som Sleep. This beverage is formulated to help you fall asleep fast and sleep great throughout the night. It's even backed by a panel of sleep experts!
Som Sleep is made with a science-backed formula that uses natural, sleep-supporting ingredients, including magnesium, vitamin B6, L-theanine, GABA, and melatonin. It's available in an original and zero-free version.
Simply drink one can 30 minutes before bed and you can rest easy. Som Sleep has been highlighted by top names, including Sports Illustrated, People, and the Wall Street Journal.
13. NatureMade Sleep & Recover Gummies
Active ingredients: Magnesium, melatonin, and L-theanine
Price: $14.99 for 44 gummies
Get the rest and recovery that you need with NatureMade Sleep & Recover Gummies. This sleep supplement is made with a 3-in-1 blend that's scientifically proven to support restful sleep and natural recovery. With these gummies, you'll wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated so that you can take on the day like the champion you are.
Melatonin helps you to fall asleep faster while L-theanine helps to relax your mind so that you can unwind and ease racing thoughts. Magnesium helps to relax the body so that you're primed for sleep from head to toe.
These dreamy berry-flavored gummies are gluten-free, sugar-free and are made without high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. Chew your way to quality sleep!
14. Sugarbear Sleep Deep 5-HTP Gummies
Active ingredients: L-theanine, melatonin, lemon balm, blue passionflower, valerian root, and 5-HTP
Price: $34.99 for 30 servings
These berry-flavored gummy bears will have you drifting off to dreamland in no time. Sugarbear Sleep Deep 5-HTP Gummies are scientifically formulated to help you sleep. Each gummy contains the brand's proprietary Rest Well Blend, which includes passion flower, lemon balm, valerian root, and 5-HTP.
Sleep has never tasted so good! These gummies make for a great guilt-free bedtime treat.
Sugarbear Sleep Deep 5-HTP Gummies are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and cruelty-free. They're also made in the USA and don't contain any artificial flavors or sweeteners. These are sleep-enhancing gummies that you can feel good about enjoying each night!
15. Neuro Sleep Sweet Dreams
Active ingredients: Melatonin, magnesium, L-theanine, and 5-HTP
Price: $25.99 for pack of 12
Drink your way to amazing sleep with Neuro Sleep Sweet Dreams. This delicious, non-carbonated beverage combines sleep-inducing ingredients along with super fruit extracts. These ingredients help the body to gently relax, giving you better sleep each night.
Each sip of Neuro Sleep Sweet Dreams provides just the right amount of melatonin, magnesium, L-theanine, and 5-HTP. This sleep drink is made with all natural flavors, contains zero sugar, and is low calorie, making it the perfect way to end the night.
Neuro Sleep Sweet Dreams is available in three tasty flavors: Tangerine Dream, Peach Apricot, and Mellow Mango. This sleep supplement is vegan, contains no artificial ingredients, and is best enjoyed chilled.
Other ways to increase REM sleep
Taking a sleep supplement is just one way to increase REM sleep. When combined with other tips and tricks, you’ll find that falling asleep and staying asleep almost becomes effortless. Here are some other ways to get quality Zzzs at night.
Exercising 20-30 minutes each day can have a drastic effect on your sleep quality. Depleting your energy stores means you’re less likely to feel restless come bedtime.
Develop and stick to a sleep schedule
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. Sticking to a sleep schedule helps to prime your body for sleep and waking. It also makes it easier to fall asleep and to wake up in the morning.
Relax before bed
Nothing gets your mind and body ready for sleep than a good relaxation session. Listen to relaxing music. Take a warm bath. Read a book. All of these are great ways to wind down, especially after a long day.
Create the right sleeping environment
Creating an ideal sleeping environment starts with setting the right temperature. It’s impossible to sleep when it’s too hot or too cold. You also want to avoid bright lights in your bedroom, which means you’ll want to turn off the TV and put down your phone.
Don’t drink alcohol at night
While alcohol may make you feel drowsy initially, alcoholic beverages have a negative impact on REM sleep. Avoid alcohol at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Avoid caffeine or cigarettes later in the day
Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and soda should not be consumed close to bedtime. The same goes for cigarettes or any other product that contains nicotine. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulates and are known to interfere with sleep.
Get a new mattress and/or pillows
Like most things in your home, mattresses and pillows need to be replaced. If your mattress is more than six years old, it may be time to get a new one. Pillows should be replaced every year to ensure maximum comfort and support.
Can’t sleep? Don’t lie in bed
We’ve all had those nights where we go to bed with good intentions but for some reason can’t fall or stay asleep. When this happens, don’t fall into the trap of lying in bed awake. The best thing you can do is get up and do a quiet activity, like reading or listening to relaxing music until you’re tired.
With these tips and tricks, you’ll find that sleep comes effortlessly! When combined with top sleep supplements, you and sleep will become best friends.
How much sleep do I need?
There are a lot of factors that influence how much sleep you need. One of the biggest factors is your age. Infants need up to 17 hours of sleep a day while most adults can function properly with about 7-9 hours. But, some need as little as 6 or as much as 10 hours. It all depends on your biological needs.
If you feel drowsy during the day, especially when doing something that requires very little energy, this is a telltale sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep at night.
Knowing how to increase REM sleep can have a drastic impact on your health and well-being. Combining a sleep supplement with other sleep tips will help you get the rest you need so that you can wake up ready to take on the day.
Don’t fall into the cycle of chronic sleeplessness! Follow these tips and tricks so that you can fall asleep and stay asleep each night.