Everybody is guilty of hitting that snooze button one too many times or waking up after an hour-long nap feeling completely washed out.
The vast majority of people don’t know the science behind sleep cycles and often wonder why they wake up feeling groggy, irritable and tired.
A lot of people don’t get enough sleep during the night and it can often manifest into sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea if it isn’t taken care of. The science of sleep is an important lesson for anyone who has difficulties dozing off at night. The main problem is our movement as a society from natural sleep cycles to structured ones.
We are no longer allowed to wake up naturally and are instead slaves to our alarm clocks. This inherent change has caused more destruction to our sleeping habits than any other source combined.
We are rooted in the habits of modern life and have a culture ingrained within us that doesn’t allow us to slow down. Instead, we are hurting our own mental and physical health by not listening to the natural order of the body.
Keep reading to find out how to wake up from sleep cycles with more energy.
Your body is extremely active during the night, especially during REM sleep. The body ingeniously uses sleep to grow, heal and replenish vital cells. Any prolonged interruption to these sleep cycles means that the body can’t function and will most likely develop symptoms of a sleep disorder.
Four main sleep cycles need to be considered:
Stage one is where you start to get groggy and doze off to sleep.
You might even be able to hear noises from your environment but in most cases will be too delirious to react. The important thing to note here is that during this stage the brain starts to produce alpha and theta waves for around 5-7 minutes. During this time, the body relaxes further and starts to drift even deeper into sleep.
Much like the first stage, Stage 2 induces a light sleep but the difference is they sleep spindles start to appear.
These are often characterised by quick and abrupt brain frequencies that are followed by a decline. If you only sleep for around 20-30 minutes, you won’t get much further than Stage 2.
You will feel refreshed but won’t have any of the grogginess associated with deep sleep.
Stages Three & Four
Stages three and four is when the body starts to slow down. Slow delta waves are released and a near paralysed state stops the body from involuntary movement.
It’s during these stages that sleeping paralysis can occur which is a disconnect between the body and the mind. The body is in a paralysed state and is preparing for REM sleep whilst the mind is still somewhat alert and active, usually in Stage 2.
During Stage Four, your body is less likely to respond to external stimuli and the brain becomes heavily involved in expressing slow delta waves.
The differences between Stages 3 and 4 are minimal so it’s hard to truly indicate a difference but Stage 4 is known to put the body in a more restorative state. It’s also in this Stage that the body repairs its muscles, conserves energy and improves immune function.
REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep is the most important of all of the sleeping cycles.
It occurs around 80-90 minutes after Stage One and is when we are most likely to have dreams. It’s a special stage that allows your brain to essentially function whilst sleeping. Heart rate and blood flow are increased whilst the brain lights up and ignites with energy.
Why Does REM Sleep Matter?
REM sleep works by codifying our memories and locking them into place. It’s the brain’s way of naturally sorting and organising the day’s occurrences and preparing the mind and body for the next day. Some sleep scientists and doctors argue that the reason we have strange dreams is a result of the brain trying to organise memories.
The Trick is Waking Up Between 90 Minute Sleep Cycles
Sleep scientists and doctors agree that daytime grogginess is primarily due to a lack of short waves.
If you wake up during REM sleep it can be dangerous and interrupts the crucial flow of memory. If you want the best chances of avoiding grogginess and forgetting valuable memories, try to sleep for 90-minute intervals.
If a 90 minute sleeping pattern is observed, you won’t risk breaking into any of the deeper sleep cycles which work by invoking more heavy delta waves that are hard to shake off by the time the alarm clock rings.
Tricks to Help You Fall Asleep for 90 Minutes Or Less
Practise Good Sleep Hygiene
Good sleep hygiene is essential to a good night’s sleep, especially napping. It’s important to make your sleeping environment facilitative to healthy sleep.
Make sure that your room is comfy, quiet, cool and dark to have the best chances of falling asleep easily. You don’t want to spend the best part of your nap trying to fall asleep, only to wake up a few moments later.
Try Eating Carbs Before Bed
We all know that eating too many carbs in the day can make you tired. but did you know that it can have the same effect at night? Carbs are the perfect way to feed those hungry muscles and ensure a quick and healthy nap.
Muscle repair occurs during sleep so make sure that you are getting enough exercise during the day.
White noise machines are an ingenious way of drowning out sounds from other frequencies.
They operate a range of frequencies and offer the mind a quick way to forget about outside noise. White noise also his by downing out our own inner monologues which may also be hindering our ability to get to sleep quickly.
Learning the science behind a good night’s sleep is crucial to developing long term healthy sleeping habits. If you follow the tips that we’ve mentioned in this article then you will be on your way to mastering your own sleep cycle in no time at all.