Produced naturally by your body by the pineal gland, melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep cycles. It is affected by light exposure: at night when it is dark, your body releases increased melatonin to help promote sleep.
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that kids who had more “screen time”, consisting of watching TV, using the computer, or playing video games before going to bed fell asleep later than children and teens who had less screen time. On the other hand, the kids who had more time away from electronics, fell asleep earlier overall.
Most people never think about sleep cycles until they begin feeling the impact of not getting an adequate amount of sleep. In fact, there are some people who only know of REM sleep because they hear about it in movies, read about it in books, or watch shows on television that mention it. However, they have little knowledge of what it means or how different sleep cycles impact their mental and physical health and well-being.
Are you getting an adequate amount of sleep at night? Do you wake up each morning feeling well-rested and ready to start the day? Or, do you hit the snooze bar several times because you just can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed? Or, perhaps you sleep through the alarm, as it blares for all its worth on your bedside table, altogether?
People tend to sleep in 90 minute cycles. Waking at the wrong point in that cycle can have a profoundly negative impact on how rested and alert you feel throughout the day. However, using a sleep calculator to help you wake up at the right point in a given sleep cycle can greatly improve your quality of sleep as well as how rested you feel afterwards, even if you’re getting a less than optimal amount of sleep.
Sleep and Sleep Cycles
Sleep is actually divided up into several different 90 minute cycles. These cycles include 4 stages of NREM sleep and REM sleep. The total process takes approximately 90 minutes and then the cycle repeats. This will happen several times during a night’s sleep. Waking in the middle of a cycle or during the deep sleep portion of the sleep cycle can leave you feeling groggy throughout the day. However, waking at the right point, or near the top of your sleep cycle can leave you feeling well rested and ready to tackle whatever it is that lies ahead for you.
A sleep calculator is a tool that will help you calculate the proper length of sleep so that you wake up at the top of your cycle, rather than at a point where you’re likely to feel ill effects from your sleep rather than rested and refreshed as you should. Timing is everything when you’re struggling to get an adequate amount of sleep, or at least feel as though you’ve had enough. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of tools like sleep calculators to help you get the restful sleep you need.