Sleep Cycles Explained

There are 4 main stages of sleep

Since the discovery of sleep cycles and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) anyone can now understand the different stages of sleep. Why is it so important to understand the sleep process? Because if you understand how you sleep, you can make sure you always get the best night’s sleep. A subtle shift in the way you prepare to sleep can enhance the overall sleep experience.

stages of sleep

It has been proven that human beings sleep in perfectly timed cycles ranging from 90-110 minutes. During which your body will process 4 stages of sleep. It is a common misconception that one dreams during their deepest stage of sleep. Dreaming generally occurs in phase 3, with phase 4 being the deepest. Snoozing is quite possibly the worst thing you can do in the morning. As tempting as the extra five minutes in bed feels at 6am when it’s dark and cold outside, you are essentially allowing your body to enter a new sleep cycle but then forcing yourself awake without its natural completion.

How well do you know your own sleep cycle?

Napping is a luxury little of us can afford but it could be the key to unlocking the secrets of our sleeping patterns. Our sleep trial guinea pig discovered that every nap would only last 90 minutes. She’d awake and then roll over and go back to sleep for another 90. As the majority of us are unable to nap, we find that we’ll do anything for an extra 5 minutes in bed.  That often means hitting the snooze button repeatedly. However, if you wake up immediately when your sleep cycle ends naturally, you would feel a whole lot better. So how do you know when your sleep cycle has come to a natural end?

There’s an array of smart phone application which monitor your sleep cycle and wake you up in your lightest phase of sleep; regardless of the exact time you set your alarm to go off.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock available for iphone: An alarm clock that analyses your sleep patterns and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase- a natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed.
Sleep as Android available from the android market: Alarm clock with sleep cycle tracker. Wakes you gently in light sleep for pleasant mornings.

How does it work? The app uses your phone’s inbuilt accelerometer to monitor your movements during the night. It knows that when you’re not moving, you are most likely in a deep sleep. As soon as you start to move about you have entered the light sleep stage and it is safe to wake you up.

Understanding the different stages of sleep may not be a revolutionary idea, but it will change the way you feel about waking up. You can be a morning person!