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Tips to increase your REM sleep

Just like deep sleep, the amount of REM sleep you need varies from person to person. It will depend on what you did during your day, on your age and other factors. For example, babies spend 50% of their sleep time in REM sleep, whereas it is pretty much 20% to 25% for adults.

There are few reasons people want to increase their REM sleep. An increase in REM sleep has been shown to improve memory and general mental abilities. You may also want to extend the length of time you dream.

Sleep Cycles Circular

Get to know your sleep cycle duration and habits

If you know about your sleep habits and how your cycle evolves during your sleep, you can start planning your bedtime schedules so that you can fully and naturally benefit from REM sleep periods. Knowing that it is at the end of sleep that REM periods are the most abundant and long, it is necessary to optimize your sleep times so that these REM periods can last as much as possible before waking up.

There are a lot of trackers such as the Circular Ring that you can use to understand your sleep habits and compare the evolution of your sleep cycle.

Avoid blue lights

Turn off the TV, smartphone, tablet, computer at least 2 hours before sleep. Or even better, keep all your electronics outside the bedroom. The light that these devices emit stimulate the brain, suppress the production of melatonin (which encourages REM sleep), and interfere with your body’s biological clock.

You can use Blue-Light-Blocking glasses and softwares that auto prevents the blue color of your devices.

Optimize your sleep environment

Sleeping in a quiet, dark room and at a cool and comfortable temperature will help you make your sleep stable and durable. Noise, as well as blue light, delays the release of melatonin. It is therefore essential to cut the noise as much as possible before going to bed. Don’t listen to any sound higher than that of a human conversation. For example, if you listen to music or television, try to listen to it at a reasonable volume.

Consider using earplugs, smart lights, smart thermostats and smart bedding.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

Do not consume caffeine or alcohol within four to six hours before bedtime.

Be intellectually active during the day

The more you use your brain during the day, the more your brain will seek to achieve REM sleep. As REM sleep is for your brain to process the information of your day, if your brain was very stimulated during the day you will spend more time in REM sleep. 

That stimulation is achieved through reading, writing, creating, learning, having social interactions…

Magnesium and Melatonin intake

Recent studies have shown that taking magnesium and melatonin with a dosage appropriate to your body can increase the duration of REM sleep. Get advise from your doctor.

How to track how much REM sleep you are getting?

You can use your Circular ring to know exactly how much REM sleep you get each night. The app gives you the details of your sleep cycle including the portion of REM sleep according to your cycles, but also the amount of REM sleep in percentage and duration of your total sleep. You can also compare your REM sleep from night to night to monitor your evolution and compare your last night with your own average to understand your sleep.

Sleep Stages Circular

If you wish to improve your Deep sleep you can also read “Tips to increase your Deep sleep”  

How Circular tracks your Activity intensity

Circular tracks your activity with the assumption that there is a close linear relationship between heart rate and physical activities. The notion of intensity refers to the percentage of heart power when performing a physical exercise. Circular takes into consideration the fact that there are variations depending on the subject’s heart abilities, physical condition, age and gender.

The notion of activity intensity is highly correlated to your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), the fastest rate at which your heart can beat in one minute as it is based on a percentage of your MHR. 

Activity Intensity Circular

Weekly Activity Intensity Circular

Circular divides intensity into three levels:

  • Low intensity activity → from 30% to 55% of your MHR
  • Medium intensity activity → from 55% to 75% of your MHR 
  • High intensity activity → from 75% to 90% of your MHR

Low intensity activity

This the activity you perform during your daily routine. When you exercise at a low-intensity level, you are able to breathe normally. Under normal conditions, low-intensity exercise will not make you sweat. Examples might include taking an easy walk, stretching, shopping or light gardening. 

Medium intensity activity

With medium intensity level, you breathe harder and deeper than at a sedentary level. After around 10 minutes of exercise, you should break into a sweat. Riding a bike on flat surfaces, brisk walking, jogging, endurance exercises and playing doubles tennis are examples of medium intensity activity.

High intensity activity

At a vigorous level of exercise your heart is working at maximum efficiency. Talking will be difficult at this level and you will breathe rapidly. You will break into a sweat after just a few minutes doing exercises like biking or hiking on hills, swimming laps, playing basketball, boxing or doing high-intensity aerobics like HIIT program.

Some research showed that if you get more than 12 minutes of 85 percent of your maximum heart rate in a workout you’ll keep burning 15% more calories even after you stop working out as afterburning during the next 24 hours.

Knowing how we define physical activity intensity, we also explain How Circular tracks your activity volume.

Sleep better and fall asleep faster

Here are some of our best tips to optimize your lifestyle and boost your level of productivity thanks to good sleep quality.

Experience both daylight and darkness

Light influences your body’s internal clock, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. Irregular light exposure can lead to disruption of circadian rhythms, making it harder to fall asleep. That’s why if you live in a country where there is not a lot of sun or winters without sun, it is normal for you to have episodes where you sleep badly. It is important to expose your body to bright light or artificial bright light during the day and sleep in a dark room at night. (Click here to know more about Circadian Rhythm)

Respect a regular schedule

The second most important tip is to follow a regular schedule. This means going to bed at the same time each night to regulate your inner clock and to wake up at the end of your sleep need. 

The Circular app can help you with that because it will analyze for you, your sleep needs and tell you at what time you should go to bed depending on your time to fall asleep and your waking up time.

Be active

If you are not already doing physical activity, be active during your day. But be careful, do not do sports too close to the time you go to bed or your system will still be stimulated and you won’t be able to fall asleep correctly. Give your system at least 3 hours before sleeping. The best time for you to train would be in the middle of the day, between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm because it’s the time of the day when your body temperature is the highest.

Avoid digital screens

The following factor is the number one cause for extremely high falling asleep time. Digital screens are a plague for sleep and this for two main reasons. Firstly because watching something on a screen requires a lot of effort for your eyes and is very stimulating for your brain. This will make your brain think unnecessarily (even unconsciously) before and during your sleep. And secondly, because the blue light of these screens will disrupt your circadian rhythm. Basically, it will make think your inner clock that it is not time to sleep and therefore delay your sleep even if you put yourself in the dark. 

So don’t watch digital screens before sleeping. And if you really want to watch your screen, we suggest installing something to get rid of blue light, lower the brightness to the minimum and do not look at your screen in the dark but rather in a lit room. Finally do not look at your screens in your bed while lying down. Because lying in bed for a long time without sleeping will also disrupt your inner system. The gesture of lying indicates to your system that you want to sleep, so don’t miss your opportunity to sleep.

Be smart about what you eat and drink

Your nutrition has a big impact on your sleep quality. Minimizing caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before sleeping seems logical. But less known, avoid having heavy and late dinner. Sugar and carbohydrates reduce quality of deep sleep. Prefer a light dinner, without quick sugars and red meat but with a portion of slow sugars.

Do not eat within 4 to 6 hours of the time you want to sleep. 

Create a comfortable environment of sleep. 

Don’t work too late (within 2 hours of the time you want to sleep).

Sleeping in a quiet, dark room and at a cool and comfortable temperature will help you fall sleep faster and make your sleep stable. The ideal room temperature for sleep is between 18 – 22 Celcius degrees (64.4 – 71.6 Fahrenheit degrees).

Noise, as well as blue light, delays the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for your sleep. It is therefore essential to cut the noise as much as possible before going to bed. Don’t listen to any sound higher than that of a human conversation. For example, if you listen to music or television, try to listen to it at a reasonable volume.

Practice meditation

Meditation and relaxation practice will help improve falling asleep faster and sleep better. There is a simple but powerful breathing method called the 4-7-8 method that is used by the military and ancient yogi that will lower your heartbeat, help yo calm yourself, make you fall asleep faster, sleep better and increase your natural defenses. 

Here are the steps. Exhale completely through your nose until you completely empty your air. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose until you are completely filled with air (belly and lung) while mentally counting to four. Hold your breath and mentally count to seven. Close your mouth and exhale completely through your nose, and mentally counting to eight. If 4-7-8 is easy for you double the ratio to 8-14-16 and so on. Repeat this cycle 7 times. Do it at least three times a day, the more you do it the better it will be. 

Have a social life

It has been proven that having social interaction improve your morale and your sleep quality. 

Do not pay attention to time

People who can’t fall asleep or that wake up during the night often tend to watch the clock and are obsessed about the fact that they cannot fall asleep. But this behavior causes anxiety and that’s what you want to avoid. So get rid of any clock in your bedroom that shines in the night or forces yourself not to watch it. Even if it is tempting, watching the time is useless. In any case, you’ll have to wake up at the time you have to wake up at and looking at it won’t make you fall asleep faster.

Conclusion

The next night should be prepared during the previous day. There is a lot of parameters to take into consideration to find a good sleep quality. But you are surely already doing great on some of these factors. And if you are not, it is okay, try to apply these changes step by step.

You can also use the Circular ring to help you monitor most of its parameters and understand in detail how your sleep and your activity affect your energy to improve it sustainably.

Circular update: Exclusive content, CES, Kickstarter …

The pre-sales and Kickstarter begins in just over one week! On the 28th, everything (hopefully) will go crazy and we can’t wait! We will be offering several rewards from one ring rewards to dual packs or even one ring with several outer shell packs! You can lock down the best price for the ring ($199) by signing up here ! Very limited quantity.

Circular was at CES and Christian Stammel, Greg Houlgate, Fotini Markopoulou, David Rabin MD, and Amaury Kosman, discussed the benefits of wearable devices in the digital transformation during the Wearable Tech Summit at CES2020.

Main takeaways: With emerging technology and such powerful new wearable devices, treatment and prevention can be offered at a much lower cost while being totally non-invasive. Since wearable devices are surely one of the best solutions for predicting patient health outcomes on a continuous basis, they could act as the first step for health prevention.

Points of interest for the upcoming years: Wearable devices that prevent and act on your health will surely be best friends to health care professionals paired with optimization and better standardization of medical data. We could see the emergence of more devices reimbursed by social security.

Other companies who share this mutual vision:

Apollo Neuro. actively helps your body adapt to stress, for better focus, sleep, energy, and calm.

Oska Wellness. Oska Pulse is a medical pain relief device that works to relieve the pain at the source on any part of your body using Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields.

Doppel works by creating a silent vibration on the inside of your wrist to help you fell focused.

And finally, here’s a little sneak peak at our latest productions: The app, rings and chargers, working perfectly together. Live demos and much more to come on our Kickstarter!

The Training zone, EPOC and recovery for weight loss: science-backed theory

A HIIT “High Intensity Interval Training” is designed to push you into the 85% of your Max Heart Rate zone and will create EPOC “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption”. EPOC is what burns calories even after your workout is over and gives you noticeable lasting results in weight loss. Some research showed that if you get more than 12 minutes of 85 percent of your maximum heart rate you’ll keep burning 15% more calories even after you stop working out as afterburning during the next 24 hours. HIIT is used as a time-efficient program to improve physiological functions, and cardiovascular disease risk factor at the same time.

However, it is important to take some recovery time after a HIIT session to rest your heart and body. You should allow your heart rate to come all the way back down to 55-60 percent.

**Be careful, you must be used to physical activities before you engage into HIIT. You can’t start doing HIIT if you are starting your fitness journey. If you are not trained enough you may have some problems with recovering and you may also damage your heart.

If you are a beginner you can first target the medium intensity zone, about 75-85% of your MHR with a cardio activity.

How can Circular help me with that?

The Circular ring continuously monitors heart rate. With the Circular app you can monitor your heart rate during your workout with the live heart rate features to reach the targeted HR zone.

Then, after a workout you can get a better idea of the intensity reached during this workout. You can find a daily summary of the training zone you have reached, which you can compile weekly and compare with your trends to track your progress. By wearing the circular ring during your training you can quantify the intensity you produce and adapt it to your fitness goal.

On the days where you are supposed to take it easy, closely monitor your heart rate during exercise and make sure it doesn’t go above 75 percent of your Max Heart Rate. For recovery, you can use the Circular HRV and RHR analyses or rely on your Energy score to know if your body and heart have recovered.

Energy Score Circular

recovery Circular

Scientific sources:


Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Jul; 15(7): 1508: The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training vs. Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training on Heart Rate Variability in Physically Inactive Adults. Abdullah Alansare, Ken Alford, Sukho Lee, Tommie Church, and Hyun Chul Jung