May 302012
Sleep Cycle

If you’re confounded by the puzzle of how to wake up early, understanding sleep cycles can help you solve the conundrum. Although sleeping seems like a straightforward and simple routine, there’s actually a complex biological process occurring while your body is at rest. A progression of sleep stages occurs as your body shifts from lighter into deeper sleep and back again. If you want to know how to wake up early, understanding these phases of sleep is very helpful.



The sleep cycle can be broken down into two basic stages: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). NREM is the first stage and it includes four phases itself before REM is achieved. The first phase of NREM is a period of very light sleep from which one can easily be awakened. The second phase begins when the body starts to rest, meaning that the heart rate slows, body temperature lowers and muscle movement becomes more intermittent. The third and fourth phases of NREM represent the body in deep sleep, with the fourth phase being a deeper sleep than the third. One will feel groggy and disoriented if awoken during either of these phases.

So, How Does it work…

After the fourth phase of NREM, one cycles into REM sleep. On average, this happens after 90 minutes of NREM. The first REM cycle is very short, usually only lasting about 10 with the REM period extending with each successive cycle and lasting up to an hour on the final cycle. The body actually becomes livelier in REM, with heart rate increasing and breathing becoming heavier. The brain also becomes more active and intense dreams occur. The REM stage, along with the third and fourth phases of NREM, allows the body to recuperate, thus making them the most important parts of the sleep cycle.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

If you want to know how to wake up early, the keys therefore lie in maximizing the amount of time you spend in the deep sleep phases of the sleep cycle and waking up at the beginning or end of the cycle. Training your body to do both of these things is tricky, but fortunately there is a device to help. The Zeo Personal Sleep Manager is an alarm clock that analyzes your sleep cycle to ensure that you wake up at the time that suits your body best. Best of all, it also offers a personalized online coaching program to help you maximize your time spent in deep sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, revitalized and ready to face the day.

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