Sleep is a beautiful thing, but nearly 40% of Americans do not get enough sleep according to the Center for Disease Control. Lack of sleep can lead to lower levels of concentration, increase risk of car accidents and has been linked to higher incidences of heart attacks. Needless to say, sleep is crucial to staying healthy.
The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and it is important to sleep according to REM cycles to wake up feeling rested. REM cycles are Rapid Eye Movement cycles and indicate deep, dreaming sleep. Research has shown that sleeping slightly less, and waking up at the end of a REM cycle will actually leave you feeling more rested than sleeping more and waking up in the middle of a REM cycle.
The average REM cycle is 80-100 minutes and is often calculated around 90 minutes for convenience. Adding about 7 hours and 45 minutes to the time you fall asleep allows for 15 minutes to fall asleep- the average amount of time it takes for an American adult to fall asleep- and 5 full REM cycles. This falls within the recommended amount of sleep and can help you wake up feeling more refreshed. Since sleep patterns vary for everyone, try keeping a log of the days you feel the most rested and how much you slept. This will clarify your sleep needs and lead to more nights of better sleep.