Sleep Cycle

Do you know when we sleep there is a cycle that occurs repeatedly in our brain exactly at the first time feeling sleepy until awakened? In which, each cycle contains some different stages that continuously alternate going through our night’s sleep until awaken.

The stages are broadly grouped as NREM and REM. NREM represents stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, and stage 4. However, REM has no division.

NREM is Non-Rapid Eye Movement that indicates no eyes motion if tracked by the EOG. Along with the second division, REM is Rapid Eye Movement which shows significant eyes motion as the effect of dreaming.

So, when we are trying to fall asleep until dreaming, the sequence should be entering stage 1 firstly, then stage 2, stage 3, stage 4, go back to stage 3, stage 2, and then dreaming. In short, NREM is the first and REM is the second. That is also called as the first cycle of sleep.

If converted to a list, the steps during the first cycle sorted like this:

  1. Feels sleepy (Stage 1)
  2. Fall asleep, light sleep (Stage 2)
  3. Deep sleep (Stage 3)
  4. Deeper sleep (Stage 4)
  5. Deep sleep (Stage 3)
  6. Light sleep (Stage 2)
  7. Dreaming (REM)

The second cycle is uniquely no stage 1 present. It directly goes through the stage 2, stage 3, stage 4, then get back to stage 3, stage 2, and then dreaming (REM).

The second cycle runs like the following list:

  1. Light sleep (Stage 2)
  2. Deep sleep (Stage 3)
  3. Deeper sleep (Stage 4)
  4. Deep sleep (Stage 3)
  5. Light sleep (Stage 2)
  6. Dreaming (REM)

Next with the third cycle that is similar to the preceding cycle but the stage 4 disappears and REM lengthens as the time goes on. By passing through to the stage 2, stage 3, then stage 2 and dreaming, this third cycle seems shorter than the preceding cycle.

Color Affects Sleep Duration

This is obviously interesting how the decoration could impact to our sleep duration. It also means that we have a chance to get more sleep by only changing the decor.

However, this finding still remains some unanswered questions for me. I know I’m still searching for and not at the end of my conclusion. So this could be only my note where I will complete it in the next time.

2013 Travelodge Study

A study in 2013 by Travelodge (a hotel booking website) successfully collected data from 2000 Britons about the effect of the decoration of their surrounding sleep. From this study, it’s found that the Britons who sleep in the blue bedroom get the longest time among the other colors. The blue presents as long as 7 hours and 52 minutes. The opposite is purple which ranks as the least with average of 5 hours and 56 minutes.

The second position belongs to yellow with 7 hours and 40 minutes. The third is green accumulated from 7 hours and 36 minutes. Next to green is silver that shows 7 hours and 33 minutes. Orange with 7 hours and 28 minutes representing the fifth rank.

Grey, brown, and purple are considered as the colors you should avoid if you don’t want to get less sleep.


Color List

  1. Blue: 7 hours and 52 minutes
  2. Yellow: 7 hours and 40 minutes
  3. Green: 7 hours and 36 minutes
  4. Silver: 7 hours and 33 minutes
  5. Orange: 7 hours and 28 minutes
  6. Grey: 6 hours and 12 minutes
  7. Brown: 6 hours and 5 minutes
  8. Purple: 5 hours and 56 minutes

However, there are questions remaining in my wondering mind, how could the colors impact our sleep? How could be?

Blue is strongly related to calmness like an ocean. It triggers ganglion cells which are very sensitive to blue color in our retina part to send a message to the brain. The brain then sends a certain task to our body to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. This reduction is associated with the condition of your body where you are ready to enter the first stage of sleep.

Further, is it the same result between blue and purple? If people in the purple bedroom get the same result as the blue, it means that purple is the most effective color due to you need less time to get the same result. However, due to what I got from my sleep experiences, I will perform better in the next day when I got about 7 hours of shut-eye. Less than that I will be sleepy at 10 a.m. and other sleep deprivation signs. So, selecting either blue or green or yellow color is my absolute choice.

Both I and You Got It

Now you and I seem to have understood that we should prepare our next bedroom decorated with blue. As mentioned previously, blue is the longest restful sleep according to the finding. Just avoid purple which you just get 5 hours and 56 minutes. You might feel dropped down when getting less than 7 hours a night.

In conclusion, according to this study, color can affect our sleep especially our sleep time.

Good Sleep Duration

How many hours do we need for a good night’s sleep? In a short answer, it varies depending on your age, genetics, and activity. You need to conclude your own sleep duration through experiments.

In the previous post, I talked about the bedroom color that affects sleep duration. That’s really awesome. Blue appears to be the longest time by 7 hours and 52 minutes (8 hours approximately). And purple causes the sleepers slumber for 5 hours and 56 minutes (6 hours) in average.

However, how many hours actually do we need to get a healthy sleep? Is it that 8 hours? Whereas, is it bad to take only 6 hours of sleeping? We are better off revealing the answer, scientifically.

#1: Age

So, there are some ranges of sleep duration based on age that is recommended by The National Sleep Foundation.

  • 14 to 17 hours for Newborns (0 – 3 months)
  • 12 to 15 hours for Infants (4 – 11 months)
  • 11 to 14 hours for Toddlers (1 – 2 years)
  • 10 to 13 hours for Preschoolers (3 – 5 years)
  • 9 to 11 hours for School-aged Children (6 – 13 years)
  • 8 to 10 hours for Teenagers (14 – 17 years)
  • 7 to 9 hours for Young Adults and Adults (18 – 64 years)
  • 7 to 8 hours for Older Adults (65 more years)

Being that said, no exact amount of sleep time that is definitely advised. You need to create an experiment for weeks to test the appropriate amount of time you are fine with. We will talk about it later.

#2: Genetic

Genes also play a key role in determining your sleep needs. Have you ever seen people that sleep only 4 hours but function well in the following day? Gene might be to blame of that concern.

Still remember Olivia Farnsworth who can stay awake for three days and nights without sleeping? Also, she can’t feel the pain when she got hit by a car. Further, she never feels hungry. The doctors said that chromosome 6 deletion in her cells that causes her being such like that. In other words, there’s a real association between genetic and sleep.

The same concern comes to these two people a mother and her daughter who able to sleep less than normal people. It’s in a 2009 news reported by Science.

Ying-Hui Fu (a Professor in Neurology Department of University California San Fransisco School of Medicine) and her colleagues finally found the reason. The cause lies in the gene mutation of DEC2. DEC2 itself is a gene that is responsible controlling our sleep-wake cycle. It affects human’s sleep duration as well. This mutation lets them sleep in a shorter time, 6.25 hours in average, without getting any sleep deprivation. If compared to other family members that need 8 hours, this reducing amount of time is very significant.

Not getting satisfied, Ying-Hui Fu then created an experiment to confirm whether it works on her animal subject. Nicely, she found that DEC2 mutation works equally to mice. The mice sleep an hour less than normal mice. Also, Ying-Hui examined the DEC2 mutation at fruit flies which result in they sleep 2 hours less than normal fruit flies.

#3: Activity

You also need to consider your activity to assess your sleep time. While after a hard activity body might drop down, more sleep can definitely recover you. Just compare your sleep time between the days with exercise and without. You would find yourself so tired when you exercise. So, when you are tired, you need to sleep more.

Interestingly, Mariah Carrey is one singer that needs 12 hours sleep to prepare herself especially to sing as she wants to. Imagine that a singer that doesn’t need to perform like an athlete need a half of day to sleep. How about you?

Apart from that, Footballer like M. Essien needs extremely 14 hours of sleep if he wants to gain his best performance. Whenever he’s going to face a big match, he will be sleeping for long hours. He said that long sleep gives him more energy that he needs for the match. Also, long sleep gives him calmness which is important for concentration to play the ball like he wants on the field.

Assessing your Best Sleep Time

Assessing your sleep time is actually easy. We have taken factors such as age, gene, and activity into account. Now, it remains the last touch to apply. By doing this easy experiment for some weeks you could clearly recognize your best sleep time.

Simply, try to sleep without an alarm clock. Let you sleep until you wake up by yourself. Count the hours you take. Do it for weeks. Summarize it. Now you have a note that guides you how many hours of sleep you need nightly.

You might see different duration at typical days. Back again to check out your activity. Make a note if you do this then you need X hours. If you do this, you need Y hours. You are how long you sleep.


So, have you found your best sleep duration? Back again to calculate it by considering your age, then discovering your body (gene), and finally paying attention to your activity. Afterward, you need to make a final conclusion by an experiment that will show you exactly the duration you need for a good night’s sleep.

That being said, you are what you know how many hours you need to sleep. Paying attention to sleep is essentially the same as paying attention to your diet. That’s only about the shape that differentiates them.