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REM cycles and quitting diet coke

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

So I've been doing an experiment. Recently I realized that given my schedule, trying to maintain a 10:30 pm bedtime is beyond impossible, and it wasn't REALLY doing much for me anyway. Even when I made it to bed on time I woke up feeling like crap. So I decided to try what I call REM Cycling (it may not actually be that, just my term).

Here are the stages of sleep:
Non-REM sleep
Stage N1 (Transition to sleep) – This stage lasts about five minutes. Your eyes move slowly under the eyelids, muscle activity slows down, and you are easily awakened.
Stage N2 (Light sleep) – This is the first stage of true sleep, lasting from 10 to 25 minutes. Your eye movement stops, heart rate slows, and body temperature decreases.
Stage N3 (Deep sleep) – You’re difficult to awaken, and if you are awakened, you do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes. In this deepest stage of sleep, your brain waves are extremely slow. Blood flow is directed away from your brain and towards your muscles, restoring physical energy.

REM sleep
REM sleep (Dream sleep) – About 70 to 90 minutes after falling asleep, you enter REM sleep, where dreaming occurs. Your eyes move rapidly, your breathing shallows, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase. Also during this stage, your arm and leg muscles are paralyzed.

The theory I am working under goes somethig like this:
One full cycle of REM sleep averages about 90 mins, so by counting back in 90 minute intervals from when my alarm rings, I can get an idea of ideal bedtimes (or more accurately, sleeptimes). My alarm goes off at 7am, so workable bedtimes are 1am (not ideal), 11:30pm (mostly doable), and 10pm (ahahahahahaha!). So now my bedtime has been pushed back to 11pm so that I can be mostly unconsious for 11:30. Thus far (for the last week) this has been FAR more doable and I feel less like I've been hit by a truck. Now, I'm still tired (still not getting 9.25 hrs of sleep, unfortunately), but I've been feeling less like I'm being pulled up from the depths of my unconscious.

Also, since starting this, when I get to bed a bit late I've been waking up at 6:20 (I assume due to being at the end of a cycle) and then snoozing until 7, so that I'm not mid-REM cycle when the alarm goes off. So, all in all, I ca't call the experiment a full success as I still "need" more sleep than I'm getting, but I'm feeling better than I was.

Now, as for the other half: I am quitting Diet Coke. Now I drink Diet Coke for one reason: it tastes good. I mean, sure, the caffiene is nice, but really, when it comes down to it, I drink it because I like the flavour. However, Diet Coke is one of my few unhealthy habits (yes, I am aware that aspertame can cause headaches, no, it doesn't affect mine: I've been off the stuff for years at a time in the past with zero effect one way or the other). So, I am giving it up. Not for New Year's or anything like that. I just decided that it would reduce my grocery bill significantly to not have it in my house, and tea -- the most obvious substitute -- gets me almost 3 times as much liquid for the same price.

Last Tuesday I took the plunge and decided to quit, and kept one bottle in reserve for Satruday when I was going to be immensely busy. Didn't need it then. So I drank it yesterday so that it wouldn't be lying around my home, tempting me. Have I really wanted one? Yeah, a couple of times. They really are pretty tasty. But I can certainly live without it. This will also decrease the amount of pop I drink at home next Xmas :P

Oh! And both dates went startelling well. Date number 3 coming up in the near future :) I think I like this guy!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KONRAD695
    Thank you for the sleep study results. I'll look into those cycles for me too. Sounds like some good info for the sleep frustrated.
    1942 days ago
    Wow what a lot of really good info about sleep! I'm not even sure how to know how many cycles I'm going through and sometimes I think I skip a few of them...I wonder how I can find out.

    About the diet coke, I quit it a long time ago and it was maybe even harder to quit than smoking, once I got in my head to do it. I quit because the carbonation of any soda literally leeches the calcium right out of your bones. What I did was make a pledge to the Goddess that I would not drink it for one year (I make pledges on Imbolc--its one of my holidays). I didn't quit forever, just for that year. Then after the year, I found that I didn't need it anymore, and that when I drink it, it burns my throat and is very very sweet...

    oooh dating, how exciting! I am going to have to read back and see what I've missed to catch up on this! =)
    1946 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/23/2013 4:16:56 PM
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