The human body needs a reasonable amount of sleep to give its best and to stay healthy. For some people, a few hours are enough while others are unable to sleep long enough. But what is really important for good sleep?
Every night we go through several sleep cycles. Each of these cycles takes about 90 (+/- 20) minutes. After falling asleep, a light sleep begins, which gradually deepens and after a while changes into a real deep sleep. In this sleep, the body regenerates most effectively. However, the deep sleep phase lasts only 15– 25% of the length of a sleep cycle. After this, the dream phase, the so-called REM phase of sleep (or REM sleep), begins in which we are on the borderline between sleeping and awakening. This phase is the end of the first sleep cycle.
Subsequent sleep cycles occur in the same pattern. We usually go through between four to six cycles in one night.
After two cycles (three hours of sleep) your body has had enough deep sleep. In subsequent cycles, the proportions of light sleep and REM sleep (dream phase) increase more and more. You have nothing to worry about when you temporarily wake up after a sleep cycle. Short waking hours at night are completely common and may occur after any sleep cycle.
How many sleep cycles do you want to complete in your night’s sleep? You can easily determine it by adding the time you take to get to sleep to the time normally spent sleeping. For example, if you wish to get five sleep cycles and you need around 30 minutes to fall asleep, you should allot eight hours of sleep:
5 x 1.5 hours (90 minutes per sleep cycle) = 7.5 hours + 0.5 hour needed to go to sleep equals eight hours of sleep. Set your alarm clock accordingly.
It is much easier to wake up after a completed sleep cycle than in the middle of one. The extra sleep time that you receive if you briefly dive into a new sleep cycle will hardly bring you an extra energy boost.
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