I recently made a research on the sleep cycles. Sleep is a critical and necessary process of the brain. It restores our energy, clears mental fatigue and speed up healing.
The reason that I searched for sleep is that sometimes instead of waking up completely refreshed and full of energy, I feel more tired than I was before going to bed. People, who are forced to wake up early in the morning, may have experienced this sluggishness more often.
If I wake up tired then in most cases my day is ruined. I am bored all the time, I cannot think clearly, and I feel groggy. In general, I feel terrible. Frankly, there is an explanation why this happens.
Feeling Refreshed even with Less Sleep?
The general conception is that getting not enough sleep is the primary cause of feeling tired after waking up. If you sleep for a short time, less than 5 hours, then it is natural to be sluggish the next day. But, I have observed that sometimes even with lesser sleep I wake up more energized. The reason is the sleep cycles.
The Sleep Cycles
The Sleep is a procedure where the brain organizes and completes vital tasks. This process is divided into cycles. Each sleep cycle consists of five sleep stages. These are the following:
o Stage 1 – Sleepiness
o Stage 2 – Light Sleep
o Stage 3 & 4 – Deep sleep
o REM – Rapid Eye Movement (dreaming state)
A sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes on average. Well, there is a lot of research and experimentation on what’s the ideal amount of sleep one may get to feel energized upon waking. I found refuted opinions on this matter, so honestly I don’t really know which or whether any of these beliefs is correct. I can only tell you what works for me.
I have observed that I have the greatest difficulty to wake up in two cases; when dreaming and when being at the deep sleep stage. If I am in the middle of a dream and the alarm clock rings, then I feel very groggy, disoriented and tired. I feel like I had never slept.
If the alarm rings when I am in the deep sleep stage, I cannot believe that I have to get up. It is very difficult, and I need more time than usual to get to the normal alert state.
The secret: Sleep Time = Multiples of 90 Minutes
According to my observations, the best for me is to sleep as many hours as I can, provided that the total amount is multiples of 90 minutes.
So, according to how many hours I have available for sleeping each night, I sleep 3, 4:30, 6, 7:30 or 9 hours. If I sleep less than 7:30 hours, then I usually take a 20-30 minutes nap in the evening just after work. My energy levels are very high when I follow this sleep schedule.
The tricky part is to be accurate. You may go to bed on time but not sleep quickly. This pre-sleep stage delays the beginning of your sleep cycles and schedule. Many times I went to bed but had trouble to sleep and the next morning I woke up in the middle of a beautiful dream (disaster).
It would be better for me to wake up earlier and prevent entering the REM state than to wake up in the middle of it. Of course, the best thing to happen is to wake up just after the REM.
Some products can calculate what is the best time for you to wake up. Nowadays there is a plethora of activity/fitness trackers that also calculate sleep quality by analyzing your sleep stages. Apart from that they have multiple uses such as pedometer, HR monitoring, smartphone connectivity etc. Amazon is full of sleep trackers, but do your research first before buying anything as high accuracy comes at a price.
Try to find out what’s your sleep cycles’ duration and adapt your total sleeping time according to them. It is very likely to see better energy levels throughout the day. Of course, I cannot guarantee that you will see results, but you don’t lose anything for trying.