A sleep calculator calculates the ideal time to go to sleep to ensure a minimum of 5 to 6 full sleep cycles in one night’s rest. One sleep cycle moves from a light sleep to a deep sleep and then into the REM, or dream, state before starting all over again – one sleep cycle is estimated to last 90 minutes.
The new sleep studies aim to move away from the idea that people need a specific number of hours of sleep and, instead, calculate the ideal bedtime to get the ideal number of sleep cycles.
The theory behind the sleep calculator is based on the idea that waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle leaves the person feeling grumpy and tired – even after a long sleep – and in contrast, waking up between sleep cycles will guarantee a happy start to the day.
The sleep calculator, in theory, is the ideal system to use in order to ensure optimal sleep and rest to power through a busy day.
Sleep is often neglected but it plays an important role in maintaining good health. A few of the health benefits of sleep are: improved memory, fuelled creativity, less day time fatigue, improved brain function, weight maintenance, lowered stress levels and it helps reduce symptoms of mental disorders. Therefore, the sleep calculator should help combat the exhaustion and have everyone functioning at their optimum level of efficiency each and every day.
The sleep calculator allows the user to input the time they are going to sleep or the time they will be waking up – the calculator then determines the ideal times to wake up or go to sleep.
For example, if one needs to wake up at 6:30am, the sleep calculator suggests falling asleep at 9:30pm, 11:00pm, 12:30am or 2:00am, while remembering that it takes the average adult 30 minutes to fall asleep. 9:30pm and 11:00pm are the ideal times to go to sleep to get the full 5 – 6 cycles required for adequate rest.
There is some controversy surrounding the shift from ideal hours of sleep to ideal number of cycles of sleep. Experts have argued that the total hours of sleep is more important because it is more beneficial to mental awareness and energy throughout the day – even if it may be difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Another argument is that everyone is different and no ‘one rule’ can be applied to everyone. One person may thrive off eight hours of sleep while another can see the day through on 5 hours of sleep. It is also important to bear in mind that not everyone has a perfect 90 minute sleep cycle which throws a spanner in the sleep calculator equation.
Therefore, it is important for each person to find the optimal sleep pattern for their body by finding the rhythm of their own sleep cycle. The sleep calculator may work for some people and not for others because sleep cycles vary from individual to individual. The most important thing is to make sure that you feel rested throughout the day and have enough energy to perform daily tasks.