Make the Sandman your best friend when you use these tips to achieve REM, or rapid eye movement sleep -- and experience its restorative benefits.
Step 1: Consult physician Consult a physician or sleep specialist to determine whether you have a disorder, such as sleep apnea, that interferes with your ability to achieve REM sleep.
TIP: Recognize REM sleep by more rapid breathing and limb immobilization.
Step 2: Strive for quality sleep Strive for an overall quality sleep experience by developing a healthy lifestyle including a regular bedtime schedule, exercise, and relaxation.
TIP: Know the first REM period occurs between 70 and 90 minutes after falling asleep.
Step 3: Reduce interruptions Reduce external factors which may interrupt sleep to allow the regular dream-rich REM sleep periods to occur and expand throughout the night.
TIP: Maintain a comfortable bedroom temperature to avoid sleep disruption.
Step 4: Avoid antidepressants Avoid taking antidepressants which may suppress REM sleep, and be aware that decongestants, diet pills, and caffeinated beverages may also thwart your ability to achieve REM sleep.
Step 5: Avoid cigarettes Don't smoke which often leads to light sleep and reduced amounts of REM sleep.
Step 6: Avoid alcohol Avoid alcohol consumption which keeps people in a light sleep stage and reduces one's ability to reach REM sleep stages.
Step 7: Sleep longer Extend your time in bed if necessary to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, providing ample time for REM cycles to occur. Now, enjoy waking up in the morning rested and ready to conquer the world.
FACT: If it takes you less than 5 minutes to fall asleep, you are sleep-deprived.