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When To Wake Up Sleep Cycle

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How Long Is A Rem Cycle

Wake up rested – SleepCycle App review

The REM stage of sleep is unique because its when you have your most vivid dreams. During your first cycle of sleep, it starts about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and last only 10 minutes. Each cycle after that, your REM sleep gets longer and longer. In the final cycle is may last up to an hour.

During your REM sleep cycle, your eyes are darting around and seeing different things. Your brain is also converting experiences into memories. Furthermore, it enhances your ability for creative problem-solving. These are all important reasons to make sure your alarm doesnt wake you up during this crucial stage of sleep.

What Affects Sleep Quality

Chemical signals in the brain influence our sleep and wake cycles. Anything that shifts the balance of these neurotransmitters can make us feel drowsier or more awake. For example:

  • Alcohol may help people fall into a light sleep. But it reduces the deeper stages of sleep and REM sleep and leads to more disrupted sleep.
  • Caffeine and pseudoephedrine can stimulate the brain. They may cause insomnia, an inability to sleep. Watch out for caffeinated drinks such as coffee and drugs such as diet pills and decongestants.
  • Medications such as antidepressants can cause less REM sleep.
  • People who smoke heavily often sleep lightly and have less REM sleep. They may wake up after a few hours because they experience nicotine withdrawal.
  • Very hot or cold temperatures can disrupt REM sleep. Were less able to regulate body temperature during REM sleep.

What App Do I Use For Sleeping

I dont use an app, I use a website called, although there is an app for it. Its very easy to use, you either click on the when should I go to bed? button, or the when should I get up? button.

I click the when should I go to bed? button, and it tells me when to set my alarm so I can have five interrupted sleep cycles.

Im lucky in that I only work in the evenings, so theres no particular time I need to get up in the morning. However if there is a certain time the website will tell me when to go to bed. It only takes a few nights to adjust your body clock.

Always wake up at the end of a sleep cycle, and never feel like a zombie in the morning again!

It honestly changed my life, and for years Ive been using this method. Ask anyone who knows me and theyd tell you I used to easily sleep until midday or 1pm in the afternoon.

Now that Ive been sleeping the same amount every night I regularly wake up after five sleep cycles, even if I dont set my alarm.

Try it tonight and see how you feel

I bet you a Pina Colada at the finest bar you can think of that there wont be a hint of zombie or slug anywhere near you when you wake up! And as youre taking a journey of self-development, take a look at my self-development page for a crap ton of other posts that will turn you into a superman or woman.

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What Happens To The Brain During The Sleep

Every cell in the body contains its own biological clock, which is synchronized by the suprachiasmatic nucleus , located in the brain. Certain genes produce proteins that increase overnight and fade during the day. These changes activate feelings of wakefulness and sleepiness, which can affect when you sleep and how alert you are when awake.

The most important external influence affecting the body’s internal clock is sunlight. When the eyes optic nerve senses daylight, the SCN releases chemical signals, such as the hormone cortisol , and neurotransmitters , such as norepinephrine and serotonin, to help keep the brain alert and awake.

Over the course of the day, another chemical, called adenosine , accumulates in the bloodstream and eventually makes you feel tired. The strongest dip in rhythms of wakefulness also called the afternoon slump generally comes between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., when the desire to nap is strongest. As the day goes on and daylight fades, the brain begins to release the hormone melatonin, which helps prepare for sleep.

Once the brain is asleep, an important cleaning process takes place. The glymphatic system named after the brains glia cells, clears out waste present in the brain, such as proteins. Although more research is needed, the glymphatic system’s increased activity during sleep could help explain why sleep helps heal damage after strokes and traumatic brain injuries.

The 4 Stages Of Sleep

Models for the regulation of sleep

Stage 1:

The body begins to drift off and you can occasionally feel like you are falling and then jerking back awake. This reaction is known as hypnic myoclonia, and it is completely natural. People who consume a lot of caffeine or those who have high stress levels experience this reaction more frequently. The body winds down during this stage before you enter light sleep.

Stage 2:

The second stage of sleep is the light sleep stage. People spend 50% of their sleeping hours in this stage. The brain starts to produce rapid, rhythmic brain wave activity , body temperature decreases, and your heart rate slows.

Stage 3:

Stage 3 was combined with stage 4, but now it gets its own stage. This is the restorative stage for your body because the body enters deep sleep, which promotes cell repair, along with tissue and muscle growth. Known as delta sleep, stage 3 involves less responsiveness to noises and environmental activity.

Stage 4:

The last stage of sleep is REM, or rapid eye movement sleep. Most dreaming occurs during this stage, and brain scans show increased brain activity, respiration rate, and eye movement. According to the American Sleep Foundation, people spend about 20% of their total sleep in this stage. This stage causes the brain and body to be more active, while muscles become more relaxed.

You Should Wake Up During:

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Sleep At Different Ages

Babies, children and teenagers need different amounts of sleep.

Also, sleep patterns change as babies and children get older. For example, as babies grow, they begin to sleep less during the day and more at night. And children generally need less sleep as they grow older.

Childrens sleep needs and patterns vary, so the information below is just a guide. Your childs sleep might be different.

Causes Of Sleep Deprivation

If these questions sound familiar, they might be some of causes behind your sleep deprivation/ Insomnia is a tricky disorder. Its causes can be as varied as the people experiencing them. Weve already mentioned anxiety and depression. These are two huge ideas, especially for transient depression. Changes in jobs, schools, or money worries can be a giant factors, as well as emotionally devastating changes like the loss of a loved one or a relationship ending.

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What Is Sleep Deprivation Or Insomnia

While many people have heard the term insomnia, Sleep Deprivation is actually a type of insomnia. It is caused by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep soundly. In its most basic definition, insomnia is the general sleep disorder of either not being able to fall asleep, or waking in the middle of the night and being unable to fall back asleep. Sleep Deprivation is part of the family of insomnia, and the two diagnoses are often used interchangeably. Heres our e-book on tried and tested sleep tips.

How To Fix A Sleep Schedule

Wake Up Well Rested Thanks To “Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock” [App Review]

Asking yourself how to fix a broken sleep schedule is easy, but realizing that you are habitual of living in one is another story. Before you look for answers, are you aware of your sleep cycles? You might find many solutions that will suggest you reset your body clock or practice circadian fasting, but is it what you really need?

Lets explore some essential points you should know about your sleep-wake cycle.

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What Are Sleep Disorders

According to the American Sleep Association, at least 40 million Americans experience sleep disorders each year. Another 20 million have occasional sleep issues. These disorders cause sleep deprivation, leading to problems with work, school, driving and social activities.

There are more than 70 sleep disorders. A few, known as disruptive sleep disorders, lead to moving around or making sounds. Other sleep disorders involve food. And some sleep disorders overlap with psychiatric conditions. If you have problems with sleep or feel very tired, talk to your healthcare provider about a possible sleep disorder.

Some of the most common sleep disorders include:

Understanding How Your Sleep Clock Works

Before we get into fixing the problem, it can be helpful to know what your sleep clock is, what it does, and how it works so that these strategies make sense.

The term sleep clock refers to several biological mechanisms that control the cycle of wakefulness and tiredness, led by the suprachiasmatic nuclei in the hypothalamus.

This cycle is also known as the circadian rhythm. When functioning optimally, this rhythm means you will get sleepy in the evening around the same time, and wake in the morning at about the same time each day.

As far as timing goes, normal biological variation exists, with some people naturally predisposed to earlier sleep-wake times and others to later sleep-wake times. To an extent, genetics influence sleep habits but behaviors and the environment also play a role.

Science doesnt understand everything yet, but essentiallythe body’s internal clockVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceis influenced by a combination of external cues as well as internal cues and behaviors .

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What Is The Sleep Cycle

Sleep is not uniform. Instead, over the course of the night, your total sleep is made up of several rounds of the sleep cycle, which is composed of four individual stages. In a typical night, a person goes through four to six sleep cycles. Not all sleep cycles are the same length, but on average they last about 90 minutes each.

Power Nap Time Duration And Benefits

Sleep Wake Cycle

Power naps are a powerful way to quickly rejuvenate your body. Power naps are like putting your computer on sleep mode while a full nights sleep is like rebooting your computer. Since you cannot reboot your computer all the time, putting it on sleep mode makes it less taxing on the system.

Your body repairs itself in the nap duration to energize you for the next few hours or half a day. During your full night sleep, the body does a full repair.

What is an ideal power nap time?

The ideal power nap time is 15-20 minutes. Though there is no concrete proof, it is believed that a 7 min nap is good enough to refresh your system temporarily. However, a 15-20 minute nap works as a benchmark for most people. You can go up to 30 min, during which your body is starting to go deeper into the sleep cycle. If you sleep beyond 30 minutes and wake up before 80 min, you end up waking up fatigued. This is because you disturbed a sleep cycle.

When in the day is the ideal power nap time?

Power naps work best between 1 3 PM. The afternoon is the middle of the day, halfway through the time you woke up and the time you went to bed. To prepare your body for the next half of the day, the power nap will be helpful. Just like football players take a break during half time, your body needs a power nap during the middle of the day.

5 benefits of a power nap

The benefits of power naps are quite a few:

Can anyone take a power nap?

How to take a power nap

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What Impacts Circadian Rhythms

Circadian rhythms are impacted by both internal and external factors . Circadian rhythm-related sleep disorders that originate within the body are called intrinsic circadian sleep disorders. Those that originate from outside the body are often referred to as circadian rhythm disorders.


As infants and children age, the sleep-wake schedule shifts, and the needed amount of sleep tapers off. Infants, for example, need between 12 to 16 hours of sleep each day, while school-aged children need nine to 12 hours. Adults should aim to get between seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night.

Many teenagers experience a sleep-phase delay , in which their brain doesnt start producing melatonin until late in the evening. Late nights paired with early school wake-up times can take a significant toll on mental health and make it hard to stay focused.

Blue Light Exposure

Blue light waves are found in fluorescent and LED lights and electronic screens, such as phones, laptops, and television. Exposure to blue light waves at times when the brain should be producing melatonin, which is in the evening for most people, can halt the process and ultimately shift the circadian rhythm. As a result, blue light exposure can make falling asleep more difficult.

Jet Lag and Daylight Saving Time

Crossing two or more time zones can result in jet lag , a sleep-wake disorder that occurs when the body’s internal clock is aligned with the timezone of origin and doesnt match that of the new location.

Sleep Cycles Are The Key To Waking Up Refreshed

Youve probably read or heard all about sleep cycles and a REM state and a NREM state. Those being the states where your eyes are either still or moving, and youre either dreaming or not dreaming.

REM sleep happens at the end of a cycle and its the time when you dream. This is why you sometimes wake up feeling like youve just come straight out of a dream, particularly if its a nightmare.

A sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, and we need between 4-5 sleep cycles per night. You might not know but you actually wake up quite a few times each night at the end of each cycle, but you just dont remember it.

Sleep cycles are vital when it comes to waking up feeling fresh and not like youre a zombie that needs another two hours to wake up properly.

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The Wake To Sleep Approach

Its pretty common to hear a parent say that their child wakes consistently after taking a 30 minute nap. Or that a toddler is fighting his sleep and wakes early in the morning each day. One of the most common techniques we use to help combat this habitual wake-up is the wake to sleep approach. This technique is purely magic! The method created by Tracy Hoagg, the author of one of our favorite sleep books Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, not only works well with so many different types of scenarios but can be used for both babies and toddlers.

How to use the wake to sleep approach during naps:If you have a child that wakes early from their naps, the best way to use this method is to start off by going into your childs room 10 minutes before they tend to wake up. Gently rub their cheek or head until your baby BARELY stirs and then you let go. The goal again isnt to wake your baby up its to gently stir them in their sleep. If you arent sure if your baby moved, wait a minute or two and try it again. If your baby does wake up after being stirred, you can try doing the wake-to-sleep approach a few minutes earlier for the next nap. You really have to experiment with the timing as each child is different.

What Affects Sleep Stages

Sleep Cycle – The Perfect Wake-Up!

While there is a typical pattern for sleep stages, there can be substantial individual variation based on a number of factors:

  • Age: Time in each stage changes dramatically over a persons life. Newborns spend far more time in REM sleep and may enter a REM stage as soon as they fall asleep. As they get older, their sleep becomes similar to that of adults, normally reaching a comparable sleep architecture . On the other hand, elderly people tend to spend less time in REM sleep.
  • Recent sleep patterns: If a person gets irregular or insufficient sleep over a period of days or more, it can cause an abnormal sleep cycle.
  • Alcohol:Alcohol and some other drugs can alter sleep architecture. For example, alcohol decreases REM sleep early in the night, but as the alcohol wears off, there is a REM sleep rebound, with prolonged REM stages.
  • Sleep disorders: Sleep apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome , and other conditions that cause multiple awakenings may interrupt a healthy sleep cycle.

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The Sleep Calculator Is Just Unscientific Hype

Sleep Health Foundation says that the assumptions that the Sleep Calculator makes, and the advice it gives, are not based on scientific evidence.

The Calculator takes two scientific facts, firstly that we have sleep cycles across the night of approximately 90 minutes in duration and secondly that waking from REM sleep is more likely to make you feel refreshed, and massively over-generalises. Following the advice may make you awake refreshed in the morning but it may not. Here is why.

There have been a number of media stories recently on the supposed benefits of calculating when you should go to bed so you wake more refreshed when the alarm goes off in the morning. It gives a series of time recommendations like 9.45pm or 11.15pm if you want to wake up at 7am. The idea is to align your bedtime to your 90 minute sleep cycles, so you wake after a complete cycle in REM sleep and thus feel more refreshed.

However, the Sleep Health Foundation says that the assumptions that the Sleep Calculator makes, and the advice it gives, are not based on scientific evidence. The Calculator takes two scientific facts, firstly that we have sleep cycles across the night of approximately 90 minutes in duration and secondly that waking from REM sleep is more likely to make you feel refreshed, and massively over-generalises. Following the advice may make you awake refreshed in the morning but it may not. Here is why.

So the best advice for waking refreshed in the morning is to follow .

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