“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” -Ernest Hemingway
Let’s talk about sleeping a little bit. The average person should get about, what, 8 hours a night? That’s the minimum right? So why is it that sometimes when you wake up you end up groggy and unrested? That’s something that always interested me and recently I found an article that somewhat explains said process and why it’s important and why we need it, yadda yadda yadda (go ahead and read the link if you want it’s actually really interesting), but I kind of want to go into detail about this personal project I’ve been conducting on using the sleep.
Sleep is just… so important. Did you know if a person goes 48 hours without any sleep, they can begin to see hallucinations, but also if you eat enough and constantly, your body will go for long enough without the actually needing to sleep? There’s so many weird things about the mind and sleeping, there’s just so much to talk about, but what I want to talk specifically about is a personal project I’m doing.
This project has to do with sleep cycles. As stated in the link above, we go through many cycles while we sleep, from very light sleep to extremely deep sleep and depending on where you wake up in these cycles, that can really impact your everyday life.
While you sleep you go through several sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle lasts for about 90 minutes before it goes into a different sleep cycle. So when you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, your cycle has been interrupted and it can cause you to feel very nasty and unrested, as if you haven’t slept for the previous 12 hours. But if you wake up in between sleep cycles, it helps keep you energized, even if you only slept for one cycle (which I do not recommend by the way).
On to my personal project. I’ve been thinking and working around sleep cycles, trying to find if depending on the amount of sleep cycles you have, does it affect the amount of energy you have throughout the day? If you have more sleep cycles does your energy stick with you for longer? Is it different if you wake up earlier or later? What about if you get minimal sleep?
Each day I’ve been waking up at different times and getting different amount of sleep cycles, calculating when I should go to bed using this website here and, well, just sleeping.
Now here’s the tricky part of the experiment. It takes an average person about 15 minutes to fall asleep, so when I put in the time I want to wake up and see the suggested times I should sleep, I can to calculate accordingly. I have to fall asleep by the times suggested, not go to bed, and if I accidentally miss one of my cycles, I have to miss that cycle and stay up until the next cycle comes about, which gets kind of difficult because I get kind of tired about 9 o’clock.
So far my results have been really good. I’ve been waking up a lot more energized and awake than I usually do. Normally my morning routine is to wake up, snooze my alarm, get out of bed maybe a half an hour after my alarm goes up, which causes me to rush in the morning, overall I’m just really disorganized in the morning and I often forget just about everything. But, as a result of my little project, I’ve been waking up right when my alarm goes off with little struggle, often when I wake up I’m fully awake and I feel like if I stay in bed any longer I’ll just be wasting my time, I finally feel like a morning person. I have time to get ready, eat breakfast, run a marathon, I’m just ready to take on just about anything.
Honestly, I’ve never felt better and I feel like I’m going to make counting my sleep cycles a habit. It just helps my concentration and overall I really suggest anyone who has trouble waking up or just plain hates mornings to really use it. I get that its really difficult in the beginning because you have to actually prepare when you go to sleep, I mean it’s like I have a bedtime again…. but it’s a good habit to have… no… a great habit to have.
Mornings can be bearable and you can feel fully rested, even on 3 hours of sleep.