How many mornings do you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed? It might not even be the fact that you stayed up until 2 a.m. editing that video or writing that product review. A friend of mine commented the other day that she was exhausted and couldn’t figure out why because she had slept for nine hours. No, she does not have children!
It might be because she woke herself up in the wrong phase of sleep. What? There’s a wrong phase? According to WebMD, there are two basic states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and we cycle between the two.
The average adult goes through 4-6 cycles of sleep, each lasting about 90-110 minutes every night, assuming an eight-hour night. When we are shifting from one phase to another, we move more. Moms might remember this from the times when we are trying to establish sleep patterns for our little ones because it’s true for them too. I remember the advice I got from experts was to make sure not to pick my baby up right away when she cries out in the middle of the night because she might just be shifting. Sure enough, this was true for my babies. They would squeak a little, change positions, maybe cry out once or twice but stay sleeping.
Apparently, this does not change throughout our lives, although the duration we spend in each type of sleep varies during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Experts have found that the key to waking up feeling rested and alert is in not disrupting these cycles and to wake up during those shift changes. Well, tell that to my 6 o-clock wake up call!
Essentially, both apps work by using the acceloremeter in your iPhone for sensing the micromovements you make as you sleep (just like the babies!). Although slightly different, the apps both work under the premise that your phone can detect the optimal time for you to wake up based on your movements. You have to keep your phone plugged in all night and you have to keep it under your pillow.
So basically, these apps will wake you up when they sense that you’re moving… unlike me and my babies! And I have to tell you, it actually works. I used Sleep Cycle (see pics). When the alarm went off, I was up and ready to go. No pushing snooze for me, which is saying something. So although this might seem obvious to you, I must note explicitly that you have to give yourself a window in which to wake up rather than a hard and fast time — so that you can hit that optimum time of light sleep. Because unlike my babies, I have online classes to publish and articles to write!
Try it out, MomCrunchers. It might be a way to maximize the few hours of sleep we get.
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