Ideally, the human body will pass through four to five sleep cycles each night. Waking up at the end of the cycle, when sleep is lightest, may be best to help the person wake feeling more rested and ready to start the day. An alarm going off when a person is in one of the deeper stages of sleep may lead to grogginess or difficulty waking up. Again, these stages vary from person to person, meaning that no single timing for sleep is right for everyone.
Thus, existing online “sleep calculators” can be very ineffective. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, the assumptions that these sleep calculators make are not based on scientific evidence. These programs take two scientific facts, firstly that we have sleep cycles across the night of approximately 90 minutes in duration and secondly that waking from REM sleep is more likely to make you feel refreshed, and massively over-generalize.
With this in mind, there is definitely a need for the creation and development of a smart sleep-specific wearable device that is capable of monitoring an individual’s active state of sleep. This information can be used to determine the best time to “sound the alarm” and wake up an individual at a non-generalized time that makes them feel their freshest and most awake.
Our project thus aims to address this problem specifically: “when is the healthiest time for me to wake up?” Given the tradeoffs of getting too little versus too much sleep, as well as evidence that waking up at certain points in a sleep cycle can be beneficial, while others are detrimental, there is currently no viable solution that is both accessible and effective... and our goal is to change that.