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Old 12-13-2018, 04:11 PM #1
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Default Determining wake up/bed time by sleep cycles?

Has anyone tried counting sleep cycles to determine what time to wake up or go to bed? If so, have you noticed a difference?

I've been told that a sleep cycle is roughly 90 minutes, and it's best to try to set your alarm to coincide with the end of a sleep cycle. They also recommended setting one alarm an hour and a half before you plan on getting up, and then a second alarm for the time you actually want to wake up (an hour and a half later). Since my goal is to wake up at 7:00 am, I set my first alarm for 5:30 am. At night, I turn my light off at 11:00 pm to give myself half an hour to fall asleep by 11:30 pm. That way I get in 5 full sleep cycles before my first alarm (and a total of 7.5 hours of sleep). I have no idea if there is a recommended number of sleep cycles. I only started this week, so Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Last night (Wednesday), I had a phone date with a friend and didn't do my normal bedtime routine. I didn't shut my light off until 11:30. I felt like I had been having an easier time waking up the rest of the week, but today was so much harder. I feel like I've been exhausted all day too, whereas my energy level seemed higher the rest of the week (or at least, I didn't come up from work and want to take a nap like I want to right now...).

I'm going to try to continue the 11:00 lights off bedtime routine, even on the weekends, to see if it makes a long term difference, but I've been wondering if any one has tried this or had any experiences with tracking/counting/planning sleep cycles.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:20 AM #2
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Default Re: Determining wake up/bed time by sleep cycles?

Thank you for making this thread, RomanSunburn I have never tried but it seems interesting.
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:59 AM #3
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Default Re: Determining wake up/bed time by sleep cycles?

Yes, Very Interesting!!!I was just reading a link someone had suggested for someone else and learned a bit about sleep, narcolepsy etc.
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Old 12-18-2018, 04:00 PM #4
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Default Re: Determining wake up/bed time by sleep cycles?

I think the key with bed time routines is being consistent. I had the light off by 11 pm on Friday. But on Saturday, my husband and I stayed up to watch a movie, and I didn't get in bed until probably close to midnight. Also, I tend to sleep in on the weekends (not naturally a morning person...) so that also throws off when I get tired at night. Last night, even though I shut the light off at 11, I was tossing and turning for at least an hour and a half (I've been stressing about my family and the holidays) before I finally fell asleep which made this morning really unpleasant...

I think I'm going to have to try harder to maintain bedtimes and not letting myself sleep too late on the weekends. Planning wake up and bed time by sleep cycle does seem to help me, as long as I can fall asleep when I want to...
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Old 12-22-2018, 10:22 AM #5
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Default Re: Determining wake up/bed time by sleep cycles?

No I have never used my sleep dreaming cycles to determine what time I should go to bed or wake up. I had a sleep study done for other health reasons and regardless of what my sleep cycles are they last the same amount of time whether I go to bed at 8, 10, midnight or what ever. its all about how the brain releases its chemicals to induce sleep.

the one thing I did learn with the sleep study and brain scans and education on how the brain works is that if I messed around trying to control my sleep cycles (REM and such) by purposely waking up and sleeping that can cause a person to hallucinate, have delusions and not get the right amount of sleep that their body needs, in other words enter a state of sleep deprivation.

instead of sleeping according to my nightly cycling I go according to my doctor who has told me I need to get at least 10 hours of sleep in every 24 hours and go according to my internal clock, dont try to control it, if my internal clock tells me Im tired at 7 pm thats when I sleep, if my internal clock tells me Im tired at 10pm thats when I sleep.

I do have a work schedule and children have their school schedules so I set my alarm for waking up for those schedules.
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Old 12-26-2018, 01:11 PM #6
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Default Re: Determining wake up/bed time by sleep cycles?

I think going through all the trouble of counting sleep cycles and sticking with a set bedtime is too much work and takes too much enjoyment out of life for me.


One thing I do to get somewhat better sleep is use an app called Tide which plays relaxing ambient sounds from my smartphone to help me sleep and has a built in alarm to slowly wake you up at a set time. I'm also buying one of those sleep band headphones (such as the AcousticSleep SleepPhones) to help aid my sleep further.



I also have a computer monitor with a built in blue light filter which helps further since I'm on my PC a lot.


These methods increase my sleep quality with much less work involved than setting a strict schedule or monitoring sleep cycles or fancy sleep studies or all that mess. Granted I admit I would probably get a little better sleep if I went through all of the extra effort. Is it worth it to work 100% harder for 10% better sleep though? Not to me. Besides I'm a grown man, bed times are for kiddies. I just try to avoid staying up past 2AM if I got stuff to do the next day.
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:56 AM #7
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Default Re: Determining wake up/bed time by sleep cycles?

Hi! I have been coping with sleep apnea since 2014. I have tried several different apps to track overall sleep and the cycles. I just found and started using one called SleepScore, by ResMed. I use a CPAP mask daily, and ResMed also makes the mask that works the best for me to get the best night sleep. The SleepScore app basic version is free, and although I have only been using a week, it seems to track my sleep more accurately. The only difference with the premium version is that the app will maintain your past sleep data, the basic version will only keep one week of data.

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Originally Posted by RomanSunburn View Post
Has anyone tried counting sleep cycles to determine what time to wake up or go to bed? If so, have you noticed a difference?

I've been told that a sleep cycle is roughly 90 minutes, and it's best to try to set your alarm to coincide with the end of a sleep cycle. They also recommended setting one alarm an hour and a half before you plan on getting up, and then a second alarm for the time you actually want to wake up (an hour and a half later). Since my goal is to wake up at 7:00 am, I set my first alarm for 5:30 am. At night, I turn my light off at 11:00 pm to give myself half an hour to fall asleep by 11:30 pm. That way I get in 5 full sleep cycles before my first alarm (and a total of 7.5 hours of sleep). I have no idea if there is a recommended number of sleep cycles. I only started this week, so Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Last night (Wednesday), I had a phone date with a friend and didn't do my normal bedtime routine. I didn't shut my light off until 11:30. I felt like I had been having an easier time waking up the rest of the week, but today was so much harder. I feel like I've been exhausted all day too, whereas my energy level seemed higher the rest of the week (or at least, I didn't come up from work and want to take a nap like I want to right now...).

I'm going to try to continue the 11:00 lights off bedtime routine, even on the weekends, to see if it makes a long term difference, but I've been wondering if any one has tried this or had any experiences with tracking/counting/planning sleep cycles.
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