Sunday, May 22, 2011


Sorry for my long absence from blogging. I've been uncharacteristically disciplined with reading, writing, and school work lately. I'm determined to stay on top of things my final semester of grad school, and I decided to start with the last deadline for my third semester.

Three weeks ago, I sent my advisor a revision of a short story called "The Pond," and a rewritten and polished version of my craft essay on nature in fiction (see these - three - pages I wrote having to do with this essay). And one week ago I put the finishing touches on (and forced myself to quit tweaking) my translation of a Spanish short story by Samanta Schweblin. Here's something I wrote at the beginning while learning so much about the process of translation.

So aside from that news, this here note has nothing to do with writing, except that, being busy doing so lately, I needed to make sure I got enough sleep. That and, being a writer, I don't particularly gravitate toward mathematical skills, as you'll see later. Also I feel compelled to, in any order possible, finish my April A-to-Z blogging challenge.

So I found this bedtime calculator and boasted about it one night to Andrew, who after looking at it on my iPod said, "Why don't you just count either 6, 7.5, or 9 hours from now?"

Oh, so it's that easy?

Well, for someone who doesn't have a brain wired for calculation, or who doesn't want to have to think very hard right before they want to fall asleep, this is awesome!

Tell it what time you need to wake up and it will give you four times you could go to sleep to get a good night's rest. For example, if I know I need to wake up at 7:30 tomorrow, it tells me I should try to fall asleep by 10:30pm, 12am, 1:30am, or 3 am.

Or, you can click a button to find out when to wake up if you go to bed now. The screen displays six times, with your best two highlighted in bright green.

The concept is based on 90-minute sleep cycles, plus an average of 14 minutes to fall asleep. For a good night's rest, you need 5-6 complete sleep cycles, (7.5 or 9 hours of sleep).

When I use it, I usually wake up without the foggy, brain-dead, need-more-sleep feeling. Usually. I'm not convinced it can make me into a morning person, but maybe it is helping me feel more rested.

Now I just can't decide if I need 7.5 hours of sleep or 9. Nine seems too much, but several days of 7.5 leaves me feeling like I need to sleep in on Saturday. I heard recently that introverts need more sleep than extroverts because we have to function in such an extrovert-friendly society. I know this whole thing seems inane, but I'm really curious about the physical and psychological effects of sleep.

So how much sleep do you all usually need, if you know?


  1. I need 7 hours of sleep to function well and, of course, my strong Cuban coffee in the morning. My 6 mth old baby has been sleeping all night since he was 3 months. We are so lucky! Have a wonderful Monday. :)


  2. Yes, I suppose all this is a moot question if you have an infant. You are lucky, Gladys, to have a baby who's good at sleeping! And good coffee is a good help either way. :) Have a good Monday, yourself! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I've been using the 1.5 sleep cycle guideline for a couple of years now and it really does work! Ideally, I'd get nine since successive nights of only 7.5 (and sometimes six, ugh) leave me feeling blah but my "bedtime" seems to slip so easily whereas my job doesn't provide that slipperiness on the other end.

    Since electric lighting was invented, we've all started staying up later and later but the myth that people used to sleep soundly, comfortably, and undisturbed for most of the night is bogus so you can take comfort in the fact that us humans are sleeping as un-ideally as ever. Yay! :-)

  4. Oh, right. See this article on 7 basic things we do wrong. There are some funny, gross, and intriguing tips on everyday activities we're all screwed up on:

  5. I can always tell if I get 6 hours or less, but I think 7.5 is generally enough.

    I used this calculator a couple of times this week after you posted it. But I can't tell if it's actually helping or if I was just being optimistic...

  6. Kristiana, have you noticed a difference, or do you think it was just hopeful thinking that made you feel better? I'm like you. I can get by on 6 hours, but I feel it more so than 7.5.