You've probably heard of the term sleep cycle. When we sleep, we go through several different stages of sleep over the course of the night.
You might be surprised to learn how big a role the stage of sleep we are in at the moment we wake up plays. A natural light wake up alarm clock is a healthier way to wake up because it wakes you in a more gradual and natural way.
Understanding the Sleep Cycle
There are five main stages of sleep. A complete cycle goes through all five stages and takes around 90-110 minutes. Stage one is the lightest stage and then each stage gets progressively deeper.
Stage five is the deepest stage of sleep and is known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
The absolute worst time to wake up is during REM sleep but waking up in stages 3-5 can have some pretty big consequences.
The best time to wake up is during light sleep, when the cycle starts over in stage one after finishing the REM sleep of stage five.
Waking up Mid-Cycle Leads to Irritation and Mood Problems
A study from the Boston University School of Medicine found that waking up during REM sleep causes some pretty significant mood problems. This includes being generally irritable but the study also found that waking up during deep sleep can impact how a person sees themselves.
Waking up during deep sleep can lead to a negative self-appraisal, especially for women. Over time, this can contribute to mood disorders like depression. It's amazing how waking up at a later point in the cycle can have such a remarkable effect on mood.
Waking Up Mid-Cycle Causes Cognitive Challenges
Perhaps even more concerning than the mood issues is the fact that there is the potential for some cognitive deficits. The same study from Boston University found that people performed less well on memory tests when woken up during deep sleep versus light sleep.
A study from Tel Aviv University showed that waking up during REM sleep causes some confusion and cognitive delays to the point of hurting work performance. In summarizing the research, Time Magazine goes so far as to say that “interrupted sleep may be as harmful as no sleep at all.”
Without question, the healthiest way for a person to wake up is at the light stage of sleep. The worst time to wake up is in the middle of deep sleep, the REM stage.
A Natural Light Wake Up Alarm Clock Wakes You Up at a Healthier Stage
Because a natural light wake up alarm clock mimics the sun, your body responds by gently progressing into a lighter stage of sleep before waking you up. This means that you won't be yanked out of a deep stage of REM sleep and suffer the cognitive and mood consequences as a result.
Will a natural light wake up alarm clock make you love mornings or turn you into a morning person? Probably not but there is a lot of scientific evidence that shows waking up in a more gradual, natural way is better for you.
A dawn simulator alarm clock will help draw you gradually from sleep so that you don't wake up during deep sleep. This will help prevent the major consequences of waking up while in REM sleep, namely cognitive challenges and mood problems.
Anecdotally, many people report waking up feeling happier and having more energy first thing when they wake up gradually with a wake up light clock. If there's something that can make mornings easier, healthier, and happier, sign me up!