You've probably heard of sleep cycles or REM, before, but without really understanding what they are.
And no, we're not looking for the band behind Losing My Religion, It's The End Of The World, Everybody Hurts, The One I Love, Man on the Moon, etc.
Sleep cycles are when we move through five stages of sleep that do not encompass rapid eye movement (REM) and one that does.
We cycle through from light sleep (stage 1) to a very deep sleep (stage 4) and then REM sleep, when we're most likely to dream.
It's thought that if we're roused suddenly, midway through a cycle, by an alarm clock or disturbance, it's more likely to make us irritable in the morning.
However, a website for a blinds company thinks they've come up with an answer.
They've attempted to calculate when you should go to bed, to meet your alarm clock at the perfect time.
For example, to wake up for a time of 7am, you need to head to bed at the following times:
How was this calculated?
It takes about 14 minutes to fall asleep and sleep cycles take around 90 minutes. So it's hoping you'll be coming out of a phase in time for your alarm. This is all pretty approximate though, as there's no guarantee your sleep cycles will match with 90 minutes.
Are there better options?
Sort of, yes.
If you have a smartphone you can also download a sleep cycle alarm app.
These usually work by monitoring your activity as you sleep and attempting to wake you up at the moment you're cycling through phases, at the point when you're closest to awake, 30 mins or more prior to the latest time you designate to be woken.
Some smartwatches also come with a similar feature and can wake you with alarms or vibrations from your wrist, however smartwatches are probably a fair bit more expensive than an app for your phone.