What are sleep cycles, and how do they help you become more productive? Students like you are no strangers to sleep deprivation. If you’re finding it hard to wake up in the mornings you might not be getting through the best sleep cycles. Read on to learn about sleep cycles so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Sleep Cycles Explained: How You Can Make Them Work for You
The Sleep Deprivation Phenomenon
You may know people who compete to see who can stay up the longest and work the hardest. But here’s the fact: sacrificing rest to get more work done isn’t going to make you more productive. You can’t prove anything with that kind of competition because it’s a myth.
It’s rare that someone can survive on five or six hours of sleep each night. At your age, and during your teenage years, you need nine hours of sleep each night. Getting five hours of sleep during the week and ten hours on weekends absolutely doesn’t work.
Signs of Sleep Deprivation
How do you know if you’re sleep-deprived? It’s very simple: when you’re bored during the day, do you get sleepy? If you do, then you’re sleep-deprived.
Someone who isn’t sleep-deprived gets fidgety and nervous, but they don’t get sleepy when they’re bored. So that is what will give you away as someone who lacks the right amount of sleep.
Sleep Cycles: The Answer for Sleep Problems
I’ve had the fortune of meeting a gentleman who coaches the greatest European and English cycling and soccer teams in the world. During my encounter with him, he introduced me to a great system called the R-90 System. This is also what he uses to train the top athletes of the world.
So how does this work? Instead of thinking about how many hours of sleep you’re going to get each night, think about 90-minute cycles. We say 90-minute cycles because that’s how our body operates. We go through light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep — all of which are done every 90 minutes.
Ideally, you, as a teenager want to get six cycles of sleep every night, which adds up to nine hours. But often, you won’t get this much sleep time. You may also want to get up at the same time every day, including weekends.
I can almost hear you telling me that you can’t make a habit out of this. That’s fine, but see how close you can come to this, even only during the week. The idea is to always wake up at the same time. This should be pretty easy since you have a school schedule. Then, work backward six cycles to figure out what time you need to sleep.
That’s six 90-minute cycles. So you take six times 90 and you go backward from your wake-up time. That’s how you figure out your bedtime.
How to Plan Your Sleep Cycles
Let’s say you can’t do a full nine hours of sleep. Here’s the key: you won’t want to go to sleep at any old time. You’d want your bedtime to be at the beginning of a cycle. So if you can only get five cycles in a night, then you work your way backward.
If your wake-up time is 6:30am, five times 90, and that’s the time you should go to sleep. When you follow this system, you get a much more efficient sleep as a result.
Now let’s say one night you only got four cycles, or the next day, you only got five. How do you get the other cycle or two in? Well, there are two ninja tricks for that in the form of nap time. A lot of students like taking naps, and that’s a good thing.
First, if possible, take a 90-minute nap because that will add one more cycle to your day. If you only got five in the night and you add nap time, now you’ve got six cycles in. If you can’t do this or it’s too close to nighttime, then you go for the second option. This is the 30-minute recovery nap. That doesn’t really get added, but it makes a big difference to your performance.
The Benefits of Applying the Sleep Cycles
If you can sleep in cycles as often as possible, you’ll see an increase in your productivity. You’ll be happier, more alert, and will have more energy during the day. In turn, your grades and test scores will go up.
That’s the whole point of regulating your sleep time. Your life isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. You are an academic athlete. You have to take care of yourself, and this is one way you can do so.
Remember, it’s ideal that you get six 90-minute cycles a night. If you can’t, work your way backward in 90-minute segments from your wake-up time. Keep in mind four times 90 or five times 90. Don’t just go to bed whenever you can — sleep at the beginning of a 90-minute segment.
Get a nap in if you can, may it be 90 or 30 minutes during the day. Come as close as you can to six cycles a night. It will make a big difference in your productivity and will have a huge impact on your future.
To better understand how the R-90 System works, check out this video from In59seconds:
Regulating your sleep through sleep cycles is, indeed, very beneficial. Through this, you’ll have a restful slumber and wake up recharged. You’ll also have more energy to be productive each day. So the next time you have sleep problems, the R-90 System is your solution.
How does having a good sleep, or lack thereof, affect your daily productivity? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.