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    Thread: Sleep Cycles and Total Sleep Length

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      Sleep Cycles and Total Sleep Length

      Hello everybody, I have a question about sleep length. I am not into the polyphasic sleep cycles, I prefer larger chunks of sleep. But I am not sure that right now I am getting the right amount, or waking up at the right time. I currently aim for a 9:30 PM to 5:30 AM schedule, which is 8 hours, and probably more like 7 and change, once I actually fall asleep. However, I haven't had many days yet where I actually feel rested. Mostly, I wake up extremely groggy, almost like I'm being forced out of deep sleep.

      There are some problems I already know, like for example I have often simply not been getting enough sleep (5 to 6 hours), or not keeping my schedule consistent enough. I also have insomnia, not chronic, but often enough to mess with my sleep goals--about once a week I'll go to bed maybe at 10, but not fall asleep until midnight. (Any tips for insomnia would be appreciated as well)

      But I was wondering, since the general consensus is that sleep cycles are each an hour and a half long, is it even worth it to work towards an 8 hour a night sleep schedule? Should it always be either 7.5 or 9, so that I complete all my sleep cycles?

    2. #2
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      Often if you wake up groggy it is because you are waking up in the deeper part of sleep.
      Apparently if you wake up at the correct time at the completion of a lighter sleep cycle you will wake up feeling refreshed.
      The problem I find is that there are so many challenges to a natural sleep pattern in our society! If we didn't need alarm clocks, work schedules etc. fell asleep with the darkness and woke at light maybe I'm sure the 'natural intelligence' of the body would wake us up at the correct time in our cycles.

      These days however there are so many other factors. You might aim to go to sleep at 9:30pm but then something happens - like children interfering, or a late phone call or something else unexpected, so that you don't get to sleep till 10:30 or whatever but still have to wake up at the same time for work.

      Another thing to look at if you are always waking up groggy is that this could be due to many different hormonal imbalances in the body or adrenal fatigue. If you are the type of person who gets stressed and anxious or is highly strung this could accumulate over years to cause these problems which make it extremely hard to ever feel refreshed no matter how much sleep you get.

      I have read quite a few articles on the recommended hours of sleeping and the ideal average seems to be 7 but can range from 6 to 8. It might be interesting to note that too much sleeping 9+ is also associated, like too little sleep, with health problems.

      I think overall it is still worth working towards an sleep cycle that completes your sleep cycles, but I think (not 100% sure) that the exact time can vary between people, so perhaps experiment with different times, write down the days that you do wake up feeling refreshed and what was different about those days, and how much sleep you got. I used to do something like this with the Sleep Bot app. But now I don't get much of a choice as I end work late and start it early so I have to take what I can get!

      Good luck

      I wear the cheese, it does not wear me.

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      Quote Originally Posted by midnightfire View Post
      I wear the cheese, it does not wear me.
      *Takes off hat
      *Bows

      Another thing to look at if you are always waking up groggy is that this could be due to many different hormonal imbalances in the body or adrenal fatigue. If you are the type of person who gets stressed and anxious or is highly strung this could accumulate over years to cause these problems which make it extremely hard to ever feel refreshed no matter how much sleep you get.
      Yeah, I think you kinda highlighted what might be the most important thing--I have always been a very anxious person. I think perhaps my life has been so comfortable that for much of it, the anxiety didn't come through as insomnia--I never had trouble falling asleep. But now I do, somewhat regularly, and I think that messes up my lofty sleeping goals. When I first started getting interested in dreaming a few years ago, I started finally sleeping consistently 8 hours a night, and I never felt better (I had gotten by magically on 5 hours a night in high school). Getting that consistency back isn't any more complicated per se these days, but it feels almost more complicated for some reason, like I can't just decide to go to bed early and actually expect to fall asleep

      But I am anxious, not to a degree that a doctor would medicate, but certainly to a degree that has me occasionally compulsively thinking about insecurities, risks, and potential horrible situations.

      Somehow, some way I must be generally burning myself out, or not getting good quality sleep...? Last night I slept 7 and a half hours (according to Sleep Bot), but woke up feeling like absolute s***. However, I was over a friend's house, so I came back and didn't go to sleep until after 11, and I think I hit snooze over and over between 5:30 and 6:50, which is a disruptive way to sleep (awkward 10 minute increments).

      I think at the end of the day I only have my decisions to blame, but it's hard to really stick to what you said you'd do, when what you said you'd do doesn't seem to work when you do it anyway...

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      Good to hear, so now you can just concentrate on ways to ease that. I feel I can understand what you are going through as I am going through similar things. I find I have to use meditation, yoga, or even just doing other relaxing activities to try to balance anxiety that my lifestyle tends to bring.

      Today a lot of people are labelled with ‘anxiety’ and treated with medication but just worrying about/thinking about future events is a type of anxiety a type of stress, and I think it’s hard to find many people who don’t have that to some degree!!

      One thing that I have started doing lately is just a 3-5 min meditation before sleep. I have been experimenting with a few and I tend to like using a breathing patterns to give me something to focus on.
      A breathing pattern I have been using lately is box breathing where you breath in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breath out for a count of 4, hold for a count of four. Do that around 10x. (I think you can also adjust this depending on if you have done this type of breathing before - if not you could do 2-2-2-2 or if you more comfortable 6 count. It can help to clear the mind and calm the body.

      Be careful not to let the very act of sleep and how much you get itself become an point that triggers stress – I know it’s hard!
      That said, I’ve found that since I started becoming serious about my ‘lucid dreaming training’ and getting better dream recall I am starting to develop a much healthier sleep schedule. Haha, for a long time I’ve known I need more sleep to have energy for work etc. but that didn't quite motivate me enough to be strict with going to sleep on time. But the prospect of lucid dreaming and having more dreams is the one thing that has got me to be a lot more enthusiastic about sleep and maybe you are finding that too

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      Yeah, I definitely got instantly more serious about sleep once I started a dream journal. That's why I chuckle when people ask me disbelievingly, "And what exactly do you get out of this?" ("Um...better quality of life, better mental health, free night time adventures; where do I start?")

      Meditation will probably be my main goal now.

      Good news though: slept well last night, not groggy upon wakeup, many many dreams.
      midnightfire likes this.

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      If you think large chunks of sleep are good try napping afterwards, I napped all day after 8hrs sleep and have had many dreams got lucid 2x at about 8:20 this morning but I only counted it as +1 because I had a false awakening and 1 min in realized I was still asleep

      the first dreamscape was realistic, but the second one was hyper-realistic, the sky was amazing
      Sure LUCID DREAMS are all fun and games until someone loses a third eye.

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      That's quite interesting about the naps.
      It's like you go directly to the REM cycle? Or maybe just because they are short you had dreams that we usually don't remember after 8 hours.

      To be honest, the only time I've ever been able to have a nap in my life (since I was a baby) has been when I stayed up the entire night without a wink of sleep, then the next day I dozed off a few times.
      I can't understand how people manage to just go to sleep in the middle of the day - I would just lie there wide awake but I wish I could because it sounds useful!

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      Yes I am almost 10 hrs into another wave of naps after being up for only about 6 hrs so far since the weekend began
      I will get up after my next cycle or two, sometimes I lay her for a long time to get back to sleep. I notice that my sleep cycle can be reduced to only 40 min or so

      I just woke from a dream where a work group had gone to a movie and I was thinking I'll just sleep thru the movie then when I go home I can nap (so I was thinking about my technique while dreaming, from doing it going to sleep in the dream theater equaled waking up in the real world too)

      my last two wake times were 80 minutes apart, but I journaled and took some time to fall back asleep
      so I'd say 1hr total sleep time,
      (I am taking ludicrous amounts of Melatonin this weekend too, dreams are all crystal clear, I wake up with good recall and when I think about the dreams I can recall much yesterday I started with 120mg and than added more each awakening, today 100mg and then more each awakening, usually it induces insomnia at these levels but I seem to be doing fine getting back to sleep 4 full sets of dreams so far)

      I also had just done a blind-spot check and passed because I was missing fingers, as my dream fingers moved thru my dream blind spots the tips disappeared so the test was passed, never bothered to count how many partial fingers I had tho he he
      Last edited by cooleymd; 08-02-2015 at 02:45 PM.
      Sure LUCID DREAMS are all fun and games until someone loses a third eye.

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      :O wow that's a lot of sleep time! On the weekends I have been trying to to multiple wake ups as well like 'micro WBTB' but what I found is I got to a point where I either remembered less and less or I didn't have any dreams. Then I just felt I was wasting time lol

      I did not know much about Melatonin as a supplement. I'm a bit wary of taking a hormone as it's hard enough to keep all the natural ones in balance as it is with so many environmental pressures, work, stress etc. =/ But it sounds really interesting from the perspective that Melatonin has a good potential to help out people with insomnia too (in small doses I'm guessing), although it's banned where I am in Australia because they don't have enough information about it. sigh.

      Not quite sure what you mean by dream blind spots?? I find my vision in my dreams tends to be either birds-eye-view or very single focused so in that case a lot of blind spots.

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      Quote Originally Posted by midnightfire View Post
      I did not know much about Melatonin as a supplement....
      Not quite sure what you mean by dream blind spots??
      In the real eye the blood supply to the retina causes blind spots, where If you close one eye you can see a portion of the field of vision missing, in the dream I was expecting that I was evaluating my blind spots (real ones) rather than reality checking for missing fingers which is the norm for me in dreams. So I was fooling myself, I would move my hand thru the field of vision and finger tips would disappear, but this is what I was expecting as normal, so I didn't trigger

      If you take as much Melatonin as I did you will hallucinate when you close your eyes, your dreams will be quite vivid.
      It is dangerous if your a young female tho, as it can cause menstrual problems or even miscarriage.

      But I am not young female and there is no known toxicity for Melatonin, yes it might mess up your sleep cycles tho, and cause insomnia, but at these levels I was able to get to sleep better than usual for me.

      Melatonin is believed to be a powerful antioxidant and is used by many at high dose but 50Mg per day is considered a mega-dose used for cancer patients, I was taking like 5X this dose. I think I won't take any supplements tonight unless I wake just after midnight or something, then I'll take like 30 or 40mg , Maybe mega-dose wed night and then nothing on Thursday to compare vividness, recall and possible trigger I almost never trigger on weekdays tho.
      Sure LUCID DREAMS are all fun and games until someone loses a third eye.

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      Oh I see, haha sounds quite complex, so many ways that dreams try to trick us or we try to trick ourselves.
      Wow pretty strong stuff yeah I wouldn't risk it for myself, but it's more about long term stuff that is hard to know. Short term seems okay.

      Question with supplements is can they ever have a spill-over effect so that once you can see how much more vivid your dreams could be etc. you can produce those effects without the supplement or will it cause the frustration of needing it to reproduce such results.

      Good luck with your experiments!

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