Are You Experiencing REM Rebound Sleep? Here are the Signs

By: SleepScore Labs  |  July 9th, 2019

Have you ever noticed that some nights, you feel as if you dream a lot more than usual? This is actually a known phenomenon called REM Rebound. Is it healthy? Is it normal? Our experts dive in.

Why do I dream so much some nights?

This tends to occur most often when we’re sleep deprived, and when we’re not getting enough REM sleep in general. REM, like all other stages of sleep, is a biological necessity, and there is a link between REM sleep and dreams. When we don’t get enough of it, we accumulate a “REM debt”, and our brain compensates by promoting REM the next nights. This is what’s known as the REM rebound.

REM rebound mostly tends to affect those who constantly disrupt their sleep schedules, due to work, travel, or other needs. This is because the majority of REM occurs later in your sleep, so when you wake up early or have a disrupted sleep schedule, you are missing out on the periods your body gets the most REM.

How sleep deprived am if I’m experiencing REM rebound? 

We usually run into REM Rebound sleep when we’ve only had four hours of sleep or less the night before. If we then lie down to sleep, we have longer and more frequent cycles of REM sleep.

Unfortunately, there is no way to “cheat” your brain into dealing with less REM. The REM rebound pattern will continue until one’s REM sleep debt is paid off . But to make sure you get sufficient REM, make sure to schedule enough time for sleep, so you increase the odds of getting plenty of REM in the 2nd half of your night.

Can I get too much REM sleep? 

On a typical night, most people spend 20% to 25% of their night in REM sleep. However, some people experience significantly more time in REM regardless of how much sleep they’ve been getting. Excessive amounts of REM sleep may be a symptom of a larger health condition and a sign that it’s time to seek a professional opinion.

How can I tell how much REM sleep I’m getting? 

Want to see how much REM sleep you’re getting each night? Download the free SleepScore app and track your sleep tonight using just your smartphone! In the morning, explore your sleep details to see what your night of sleep looked like, including how much REM sleep you got and when you got it.

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