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Mastering REM Sleep: 5 Effective Techniques for Sounder Slumber

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November 14, 2023

Snooze Soundly: 5 Proven Methods to Improve REM Sleep

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Explore incredible techniques to revolutionize your sleep, so you can wake up refreshed, revitalized, and ready to tackle the day.

To get started with Sleep Reset, all you need to do is take our sleep quiz! This will allow us to identify some of your key issues. After your quiz, you can choose to be assigned your own sleep coach and get our dedicated sleep program.

Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Sleep regulation is heavily influenced by our circadian rhythms, intrinsic systems guiding our sleep-wake cycles. Consistency in these cycles enhances sleep quality, helping night owls awaken refreshed and invigorated.

Having a fixed bedtime and wake-up time, even on your days off, can significantly improve the quality of your sleep, ensuring a refreshed and energized start to your day.

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule demands discipline but can be achieved with proven strategies. These include setting fixed sleeping and waking times, even on weekends, and ingraining unwinding rituals before sleep, offering a systematic approach to restful slumber.

Set a Bedtime and Wake-Up Time

One of the most advantageous methods of ensuring quality sleep is to cultivate a consistent sleep schedule. Both setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time can be beneficial to your sleep quality and overall health.

  1. Establish your bedtime by considering the time you need to wake up and subtracting seven to nine hours from it, the recommended sleep duration for adults.
  2. Make your wake-up time consistent even on weekends to regulate your internal sleep clock.
  3. Avoid changing your sleep schedule frequently, as it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and impair sleep quality.
  4. Use an alarm clock to maintain consistency but aim to wake up naturally over time.
  5. Allow for some flexibility while maintaining a sense of routine, a 20-30 minute variation is acceptable.

Avoid Sleeping In on Weekends

Tempting as it might be, allowing yourself the luxury of extra sleep on weekends may be sabotaging your quality of rest. This practice, known as 'Weekend Sleep Overshoot', can disrupt your internal clock, leading to issues like difficulty falling asleep or waking up during weekdays.

  • The shift in sleep schedule can confuse your body's circadian rhythm, making it harder to adhere to a consistent sleep-wake pattern during the weekdays.
  • Weekend sleep overshoots can cause a 'social jet lag' effect, where you feel groggy and less alert.
  • Irregular sleep patterns may increase the risk of health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

The practice of creating a bedtime routine can significantly contribute to achieving quality sleep. A consistent, soothing routine sends signals to your body that it's time to wind down and prepares it for a good nights rest.

  1. Begin your sleep routine at least an hour before bedtime - this might include reading a book, stretching, or taking part in other calming activities.
  2. Reduce exposure to loud noise and bright light during this winding-down period.
  3. Opt for a warm bath or shower, the change in body temperature can prompt sleepiness.
  4. Drinking a warm beverage such as herbal tea or warm milk can also be part of your routine. Ensure the beverage is decaffeinated.
  5. Practice mindfulness meditation or deep breathing exercises. This promotes relaxation and stress relief.

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

To elevate sleep quality, establish an inviting sleep atmosphere. After all, the bedroom conditions significantly affect sleep patterns. A serene, comfortable environment can lull even restless sleepers into a peaceful slumber.

Ramp up your bedroom tranquility with crucial steps - prioritize quality bedding, adapt the room to a cooler temperature and dim the lights. These adjustments can transform your room into a sleep-inducing haven, conducive to an undisturbed, restoring rest.

Invest in a Quality Mattress and Pillows

Sound slumber may elude us when our mattresses and pillows are subpar. The right bedding contributes significantly to sleep health, enhancing sleep quality and ensuring you wake up rejuvenated.

  • Focus on the material: Opt for hypoallergenic materials, such as cotton, silk, or bamboo, to avoid any allergic reactions that might interfere with your sleep. These materials also regulate body temperature keeping you comfortable throughout the night...
  • Consider pillow loft: The thickness of your pillow can make a huge difference in maintaining proper spine alignment while sleeping. Side sleepers generally require thicker pillows, while back and stomach sleepers need thinner ones...
  • Think about mattress firmness: Your body type and preferred sleep position should guide your decision. Typically, back sleepers benefit from medium-firm mattresses, while side sleepers may find a softer mattress more comfortable...
  • Trialling period: It's valuable to purchase from manufacturers offering a sleep-trial period. This gives you time to adjust to the new mattress and decide whether it's the right fit for you...
  • Rejuvenate old mattresses: If you're not in the market for a new mattress, consider using a mattress topper. It revitalizes an old mattress, offering a plush, comfortable sleep surface...

Control the Temperature and Lighting in Your Bedroom

Achieving quality sleep extends beyond a comfortable mattress and silence. It also hinges upon controlling bedroom factors like temperature and lighting. Regulating these elements can deeply impact both the quality of your sleep and your alertness upon waking up.

  • Pay attention to your room's temperature. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.
  • During nighttime, lower the brightness of your lights or use dimmer switches to prepare your body for sleep.
  • Give thought to using blackout curtains or sleep masks if your room is exposed to streetlights or early sunrise.
  • When waking up, expose yourself to bright, natural light as soon as possible. It helps reset your internal biological clock and promotes better wakefulness.

Limit Exposure to Electronic Screens

Excessive screen time, particularly before bedtime, can greatly interfere with the quality of your snooze. The pervasive blue light emitted from electronic screens can confuse your body's internal time-keeping system leading to disruptions in your sleep cycle.

The relationship between excessive screen exposure and sleep disturbances is well-documented. Research suggests exposure to the bright light of screens late in the day suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, delaying sleep onset and reducing sleep duration.

Avoid Electronic Devices Before Bed

The persistent use of electronic devices just before bedtime could deteriorate the quality of sleep and reduce your alertness in the morning. Typically, these screens emit blue light, tricking your brain into believing it's day, diminishing melatonin production, and in turn, impacting your sleep regimen adversely.

It's more than beneficial to bid adieu to your devices at least an hour before bedtime. This creates an efficient wind-down period for your brain, unstimulated by digital activities, to prepare for sleep, enhancing your ability to wake up refreshed.

Interestingly, even your favorite digital book or news article could interfere with your slumber if read before bed. Swapping digital books with physical ones could dramatically improve your sleep quality, leading to a nourishing morning awakening.

Use Night Mode or Blue Light Filters

In today's digital age, Night Mode and Blue Light filters have become essential tools for healthier screen time. They work by reducing the amount of blue light that our devices emit, which is known to interfere with our circadian rhythm and sleep quality.

Blue light can suppress the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. By using blue light filters on our devices, we effectively limit this suppression, potentially resulting in a more restful night's sleep.

A simple yet impactful tech adjustment we can make is to go a step further and schedule our devices to automatically switch to Night Mode during the hours we typically prepare for bed. This automatic change in screen display can play an unintrusive yet vital role in our pre-bedtime wind down.

When we make a conscious effort to limit our exposure to blue light, especially in the hours leading up to our bedtime, we can significantly improve the quality of our sleep. Hence, waking up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated becomes an achievable goal rather than a distant dream.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Harnessing the power of relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, can significantly enhance sleep quality, promoting a sense of tranquility each evening. Releasing tension in the body prior to sleep enables a profound rest, leading to a revitalised morning experience.

Fine-tuning your nighttime relaxation habits bears significant influence on waking up feeling refreshed. Employing the use of essential oils, aromatherapy, soft music, or white noise can create the perfect backdrop for restorative sleep. This soothing environment fosters profound relaxation, facilitating a rejuvenating wake-up experience the following morning.

Try Meditation or Deep Breathing Exercises

Meditation and deep breathing hold the secret keys to restful sleep and revitalized mornings. By quieting the mind and cultivating mindfulness, they enable a seamless transition into a peaceful slumber, setting the stage for an uplifting and rejuvenated start to the day.

Scientific research bolsters the notion that these practices positively impact sleep patterns. A consistent meditation regime curbs insomnia, improves sleep quality, and prolongs its duration. Deep breathing exercises, in turn, help in accelerating the body's downshift to sleep.

Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax, which then communicates the same to your body. This body-mind communication paves the way for an undisturbed and rejuvenating sleep. It opens you up to mornings that exude refreshment and vigor.

Meditation, not to be outdone, plays its part by reducing anxiety and stress, common deterrents to a good night's sleep. With lower stress levels, your mornings become less about recovering lost ground during sleep and more about strengthening yourself for the day ahead.

Use Essential Oils or Aromatherapy

The connection between aroma and relaxation can significantly contribute to better sleep. Certain essential oils such as lavender and chamomile have been scientifically proven to promote calmness and relaxation, potentially leading to an improved sleep rate.

A holistic approach to sleep, involving both external and internal factors, proves highly effective for many individuals. Integrating aromatherapy into one's bedtime routine provides not just a luxurious self-care ritual but also a therapeutic experience that promotes restful sleep.

Incorporating essential oils like bergamot, ylang-ylang, or jasmine into your night routine could help balance your mind and body. Their unique properties are found to promote tranquillity, helping you drift off into a deeper, more restful sleep.

Using a diffuser can fill your sleep environment with calming essences that guide you gently towards sleep. Consistently breathing in these soothing scents can condition your mind to associate those aromas with restfulness, reinforcing your pre-sleep ritual.

Aromatherapy doesn't only help promote sleep but also the quality of sleep. Essential oils play a role in establishing a rhythm to your rest, allowing you to cycle through all the stages of sleep, leading you to wake up feeling refreshed each morning.

Listen to Calming Music or White Noise

Listening to calming music or white noise during bedtime can profoundly impact one's sleep quality. This strategy can slow the heartbeat, lower blood pressure, and relax muscles, aiding in improved sleep pattern.

The use of calming music and white noise to promote restful sleep is scientifically supported. They distract from disruptive background sounds, promoting a calm mind and restful sleep.

The various sounds, rhythms, and melodies of calming music, or consistent hum of white noise, acts as an audio blanket, cloaking other potential noises that may cause a disturbance during sleep. Their soothing effect can indeed enhance restfulness and wakefulness.

Exercise Regularly, but Not Before Bed

Incorporating daily physical activity is not only beneficial to your overall health, but it also contributes positively to your sleep quality. However, the timing is crucial - pursuing vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime can cause a spike in energy, leading to difficulty falling asleep.

A regular exercise routine paves the way for enhanced sleep quality by reducing stress and promoting a sense of well-being. Nevertheless, it's vital to allow your body time to unwind post-workout, making earlier in the day an optimal time for high-intensity exercise.

Engage in Physical Activity Throughout the Day

Exposure to sunlight while engaging in physical activity can substantively enhance your sleep quality. It helps synchronize your body's internal clock, boosts your mood, and readies your body for restful slumber at night.

Variety in your daily workouts benefits not just your overall fitness, but also sleep. Regular moderate exercise like walking or cycling during the day can greatly improve your sleep patterns, better preparing you to wake up feeling refreshed.

Don't underestimate the power of regular physical activity for sleep promotion. An active lifestyle significantly contributes to uninterrupted, higher-quality sleep by naturally tiring the body and fostering a tranquil state of mind conducive to nighttime relaxation.

Physical activity, ideally in daylight, plays a pivotal part in achieving a satisfying sleep-wake cycle. Regular exercise not only stimulates restorative physical processes but also leads to mornings filled with vibrancy and refreshed vitality.

Avoid Strenuous Exercise Close to Bedtime

Exercising close to bedtime might be convenient, but it could jeopardize your sleep. High-intensity workouts elevate heart rate and body temperature, promoting alertness rather than relaxation, making it harder to drift off to sleep.

An active lifestyle aids in better sleep, but timing is crucial. Ideally, avoid intense physical activity within three hours of bedtime as your body needs time to wind down and prepare for a restful night.

Why not replace rigorous nighttime exercises with calming activities? Yoga or light stretching can serve as ideal alternatives contributing to relaxation, triggering sleep signals in your brain.

Remember the goal is to wind down at night. Mindful movement and meditative practices, such as tai chi or guided relaxation, can help enhance sleep quality by soothing the nervous system and reducing stress.

Bedtime shouldn't be about bracing for a workout. Instead, strive for tranquility and relaxation. Your body will thank you with a restorative, refreshing sleep experience every night.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Intake

Deciphering the sleep disruptors can greatly aid in achieving restful sleep. Consuming substances such as caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the hours leading up to bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns and lower the quality of rest.

Eliminating these sleep saboteurs involves moderating intake. While a morning cup of coffee can invigorate, an afternoon espresso may impede sleep. Similarly, although alcohol can appear to aid sleep initially, it typically disrupts sleep cycles later in the night.

Avoid Caffeine After Midday

The midday cutoff for caffeine serves a crucial purpose. A late-day espresso or caffeinated beverage can significantly impair your sleep quality. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, interrupting your body's natural transitions into sleep.

Even if you manage to fall asleep after consuming caffeine, the quality of your sleep could severely diminish. This disruption often leads to irritating morning grogginess, thwarting any hope of waking up refreshed.

Waking up tired is generally a consistent symptom of late day caffeine consumption. Bound by a half-life of 3-5 hours, caffeine can remain active in your system long into the night, impacting the quality of your slumber.

Setting a firm rule against caffeine after midday may seem challenging, especially for coffee enthusiasts. However, such a change can lead to significantly improved sleep, and consequently more energetic mornings.

Experiment with caffeine-free alternatives in the afternoon and evening. Substitute your usual cup with herbal tea or decaffeinated variants. A small behavioral tweak can mark the beginning of refreshed and peaceful mornings.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption or Avoid It Altogether

Although alcohol can initially aid in falling asleep faster, excessive intake can disrupt sleep architecture, leading to fragmented and restless slumber. This sleep-alcohol paradox suggests that moderation, or even abstention, could be key for a more restful night.

Contrary to popular belief, a nightcap may hinder rather than enhance your morning wake-up. Alcohol may reduce REM sleep, making your mornings groggier than expected.

Avoid or limit alcohol consumption, particularly before bedtime. Consider replacing your nightcap with a soothing herbal tea or warm milk, which may promote sleep without the potential overnight disruptions linked to alcohol.

Manage Stress and Anxiety

Successfully managing stress and anxiety is crucial to attaining quality sleep and waking up feeling refreshed. Techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or even seeking professional support can be vital in creating a better sleep environment and improving overall quality of life. Incorporating these strategies not only combats the sleep-disrupting effects of stress and anxiety but also promotes a refreshed and rejuvenated morning wakeup.

Anxiety can profoundly disrupt our sleep patterns, resulting in a groggy and uneasy wakeup. To combat this, employ methods like cognitive-behavioral therapy, practicing good sleep hygiene, and utilizing relaxation techniques. These can help tackle anxiety's sleep-disrupting tendencies and aid in paving the way to a more refreshed and relaxed morning upon rising.

Practice Stress-Relief Techniques

To wake up feeling rejuvenated, it is essential to manage stress effectively through mindful practices. These tools, including yoga or guided meditation, melt away stress and induce a night of peaceful sleep, setting you up for a refreshed morning.

Cognitive Behavioral techniques, which focus on changing negative thought patterns, also play an influential role in stress management and sleep improvement, ensuring you spring out of bed ready to take on the day with a fresh outlook.

Body relaxation methods such as progressive muscle relaxation also contribute. By methodically tensing and releasing different muscle groups, stress is expelled from the body, leaving you wake up feeling completely revitalized.

Don't forget the potency of visualization exercises. Picturing a peaceful place or situation can profoundly calm the mind and prepare it for a truly restorative sleep, guaranteeing that you greet the next day energetically and refreshed.

Seek Support from a Therapist or Counselor

Professional mental health support, such as therapy, can play a valuable role in supporting improved sleep patterns. Therapists can help identify underlying issues or stressors contributing to sleep disruptions, providing effective coping strategies to manage them.

Addressing these disruptions not only facilitates better sleep but also enhances morning readiness. As therapy mitigates sleep disruptions, it helps individuals wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed, paving the way for healthier sleep habits and improved overall well-being.

Start Sleeping Better With Sleep Reset Today!

If you're looking for a drug-free way to get better sleep, the Sleep Reset program can help. We use CBT-I principles to help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night. Our free sleep quiz can help you identify the underlying causes of your sleep problems, so you can find the best solution for you.

Our program does not rely on harmful pills, melatonin or supplements – which means no grogginess, dependency, or long-term health risks. Instead of relying on quick fixes, we use proven techniques to address the root causes of your sleep issues and give you the long-term tools to manage your sleep. Our dedicated sleep coach will help you via daily text to provide accountability, support, and guidance.

The Sleep Reset program is available on iOS and Android.

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