Q and A: Sleep Cycles

I’ve had a lot of questions lately. They are just random little things I’m curious about. Many of my inquiries involve a song that I’ve heard recently and I want to know who sings it. Or sometimes I hear rumors and I want to clear things up. Once I wanted to know if it was OK for a dog to eat grapes. Turns out it’s not.

Usually what I do is type my question in to my Google search and then I hope for the best. In my quest for information, many times I am referred to Yahoo! Answers. Have you gone to this site before? I have to say, I really like it. For one thing, I’m reminded that I’m not an odd ball for wondering such things. Many people have had the same questions I have. For another, people have some really interesting questions out there.

I stumbled upon this particular Q&A and though the answer primarily talks about why some people remember their dreams while others do not, the end of confirms something I’ve been trying to tell people for years! I think I learned this when I took Psychology in high school.

Your sleep cycle is 1.5 hours long, so you should sleep in increments of 1.5 hours to get the best kind of rest. People have never believed me in the past because everyone hears that they need to get 8 hours, but that just isn’t true. Get 7.5 hours, people! Seriously. Unless that 8 hours includes the time it takes to get ready for bed and then the time you lay there watching TV, reading, or just trying to fall asleep, go with 7.5 or even 6 hours or even 9 hours if you have the time.

I also believe that it’s better to take an hour and a half nap than a 20-minute-power-nap. Usually when I do take a nap, I don’t set an alarm or anything. I know that I will wake up in either an hour and a half or 3 hours. Yeah, I know, it sounds like a long nap and yes, I can still fall asleep at night.

Here’s the full question/answer if you want to read it.

Why is it that some people remember their dreams when they wake and some don’t remember their dreams?

You dream only during the last third of a sleep cycle (each cycle last about 1h30). If you wake up while you’re dreaming and then concentrate right away about remembering the dream you just had, then you will remember those dreams.

I you wake up during the other two thirds of your sleep cycle, the parts where you do not dream, then you won’t remember any dreams.

If you want to remember your dreams, you have to wake up naturally, without an alarm clock and being awake by an outside noise or any other disturbance. You wake up naturally at the end of your last cycle, which is when you just dreamt. Then you concentrate on your dream and the more you think about it, the more you remember. Dreams are not meant to be remembered by the mind. You need to consciously concentrate to remember them.

People who never remember their dreams are just people who do not concentrate when waking up while they were dreaming or most likely, they wake up with the radio and miscalculated their sleep cycles. Like if you put the alarm clock to wake you up in 7 or 8 hours, you will likely wake up in the wrong part of the sleep cycle. They should sleep 6 or 7h30 (any multiple of 1h30), not 7 or 8. Also somebody being awaken after 8 hours by the alarm will be more sleepy than somebody being awaken after 6 or 7h30 hours, because you feel much more rested if you just finished a cycle.


3 Responses to “Q and A: Sleep Cycles”

  1. uduzit Says:

    Now here are some answers that fit me like a glove. Always wondered why my sleep patterns are different from what people said were normal.

    All I have to do is ask the question, and the correct answer will show up. That’s very special. Smiles. ET

  2. nicole Says:

    I am an 84 yr old women with cronic pulmonary diesease. Every night I wake up after 3 hours and can’t go back to sleep. this happens every night and it is always 3 hours. I often have bronchitis and emphesema. Any insight?

  3. Bart Says:

    It’s difficult to find experienced people for this topic, but you seem like
    you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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