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