Sleep Cyclezzzzzzz

Posted By on June 10, 2014

Huh. So I haven’t posted in a while. And it feels even silly to mention that. Because, duh, is this thing on? I mean I never even finished my Europe posts. And that was because I still, nine months later, haven’t uploaded Germany photos to Flickr, so I just gave up. I will get to it, though. Maybe before September.

But Regan just posted something about being in a funk and it really resonated with me and I thought that maybe old school writing on my blog might help. It can’t hurt.

I read this thing back a few weeks ago about sleep cycles. It was in some health & fitness email, basically saying that sleep is the magic cure to all the things. It basically says that we sleep in 90 minute bursts. And if your alarm goes off in between one of those 90 min cycles, you’re going to be groggy and tired. The ideal number of hours of sleep is 6, 7.5, 9, 10.5 and 12.

It got me thinking – I wake up every morning groggy. Granted, a lot of that is because I snooze 11 times for like 45 minutes. But I also think it is because I generally try to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, or more. Generally it was probably 8.5 or 9.5. Something outside those magic windows.

(I know that seems like a lot for someone who is not an infant, but I love sleep. I can still easily knock out 12 hours of sleep on a weekend and not give two shits about the time I waste. And then I’d probably take a nap a few hours after getting up, if it was a perfect day. Sleep beats almost everything in my book.)

But after reading this article, I started to notice that on most mornings I’d wake up before the alarm and feel pretty good. And instead of my usual “sweet, I still have 2 more hours of sleep!” thought, I thought “huh, maybe I should get up now.” I have only ever thought that because a) getting up early is bad enough and b) getting up early and getting to work earlier is like my idea of hell on Earth.

It got me thinking, though, as I continue to get up every morning groggy as all hell. I used to think that meant I needed more sleep, but now I’m thinking I could feel way better on LESS sleep.

They have these sleep cycle apps. I’ve tried 2 different ones. You leave your phone on your bed and it basically tells you if you’re in deep sleep or not. And then you tell it you want to wake up at a certain time, and it will (hopefully) wake you up near that time when you’re in your cycle of lightest sleep, depending on your movements.

The one I tried woke me up at 5 AM for a 7:15 alarm clock. I deleted that app. I may have felt pretty good, but I try not to regularly get up before the sun.

The second one had a function to wake you within a half-hour of your desired wake-up time. That way they’ll find the time you’re sleeping lightest and wake you up then, as opposed to being in a deep sleep, which can just mess you right up. And supposedly, at the very worst, you’ll get up 30 minutes earlier. I tried that one last night and it woke me up at 5 AM, again.

With both of them, even at the butt-ass early time of 5 AM, I noticed that I felt rested. I didn’t feel groggy. I didn’t feel the need to slap the snooze button. But then because I love sleep and hate mornings as much as Garfield, I note it and then turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. Because my 10 year old brain will always turn into Homer Simpson and say “woo hoo! Two more hours of sleep!”

And both those mornings, after sleeping that extra few hours, hitting the snooze, I felt like a groggy mess when I got up. More sleep didn’t seem worth it.

I think there is something to it. And I realized, as I sat tired and groggy at my desk all day today, yawning through meetings, that maybe it would help me out of this funk to get good sleep, not just a lot of it. And instead of feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day, I could use those hours to knock out a run or a workout, or go in early to have more of my evenings to clean, watch TV, etc. And maybe, just maybe, I can become a for reals functioning adult.

But let’s be honest, I’m still probably going to hit snooze nine times out of 10.


Have you ever heard of these sleep cycles? Have you tried an app?

About the author

Kristabella, who also answers to “Hey! Drunk Girl!”, is a reformed band geek with an amazing ability to drink most people under the table. You can read her inane ramblings here, where she talks about her exciting life as a spinster with two cats and a fascination for Bacon.


9 Responses to “Sleep Cyclezzzzzzz”

  1. Shannon says:

    I’ve never tried an app (and although I am admittedly a morning person..) I did find that I felt much better and a lot less groggy during the day on the days that I would get up and do a work out in the morning. Either going to the gym or a run outside. It’s definitely worth the try! 🙂

    You could even use some of the spare time to keep up with your blog! Your readers have missed you. 🙂

  2. I was just thinking this morning that I need like 7.5 hours of GOOD sleep a night. Not 8, not 7. Just 7.5. For some reason I feel like that’s the perfect amount (provided it’s good sleep, not shitty sleep.) Anyway, last night I got 6. Six is not enough. Maybe I should try an app.

  3. Kathy says:

    That’s really interesting! I might try one of those apps tonight!
    Kathy´s last blog post ..Wednesday Confessional

  4. Suzie says:

    I know exactly what you’re talking about and I have tried those apps as well as the feature on my jawbone. None really worked for me, but what changed my LIFE was switching to a light-based alarm clock. Philips makes a ton on amazon (if you google sunrise alarm you’ll see all kinds) and essentially it mimics a sunrise over the course of 30 minutes. By the time the “alarm” sounds, I’ve already been gently woken up. I’ve found I’m usually sleeping about 7 – 7 1/2 hours now and feel well rested, even on weekends when I turn my fake sunrise off!

  5. Rebecca says:

    I’ve always wondered about those apps, but never been brave enough to try them. I find I do about 6 hours a night during the week and 7.5 on the weekends. Although I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, I do wake up feeling rested. All this is recent though and personally I thought due to a very much needed workplace change. Maybe the new job is so great I got a pay raise and a new sleep cycle 🙂

  6. Rebecca says:

    P.s. I second Shannon – you have been missed!!!!!

  7. Angella says:

    Interesting. I do know that a 20 minute nap is better than a 45 minute nap — the latter makes you feel groggy. I work best on 7.5 hours of sleep, just like Sarah.

  8. mona says:

    Oh I need sleep, especially now in my 30s. If I stay out until midnight one night, I am paying for it for the next two days.
    mona´s last blog post ..Just living the dream

  9. Mmmm…I might be tempted to try this if I wasn’t getting up a million times in the middle of the night. I can never sleep through and especially now with an 11 month old- I guess it used to be worse. But I have thought about all of those things
    theboltonskydiaries´s last blog post ..On Why the Booga is a Booga Champ