top of page

Waking at the Right Time


Some mornings you wake up refreshed and ready to go for the day…other mornings, you may wake up still feeling tired, groggy, and unprepared to tackle the day’s challenges.


If your alarm is going off at the same time each morning, why would there be such a difference in how you feel once awake? The answer can be deeper than the popular understanding of sleep cycles. Technology such as “smart alarms” claim they can wake you up at the right time but our data shows this to be a false assumption. When sleep cycles are disrupted for any number of reasons the "smart alarm" estimation will be wrong and more importantly sleep will be fragmented and poor quality.


The Rhythm of Sleep 

It’s common to think that when we fall asleep, we spend part of the night sleeping lightly, part of the night sleeping deeply, then we dream—and then we wake up. This view breaks an entire night of sleep into three distinct sections. However, the brain actually goes through distinct “cycles” of sleep several times throughout the night, each lasting about ninety minutes. At the beginning of each cycle, the brain is still fairly active while sleeping lightly, then becomes less active during deeper sleep known as slow wave sleep…and finally becomes more active again as it enters a time of dreaming (also known as rapid eye movement—or REM—sleep).

One of our founders is a sleep clinician who has treated 30,000 patients and owned a group of 20 sleep labs throughout the midwest.  He says, (and it is proven in the literature) that the ONLY way to measure Rapid Eye Movement sleep is with an EEG (electroencephalograph - about 25 wires attached to your head) and EMG (electromyograph - wires attached to your cheeks to measure eye muscle movements.)

Other sleep trackers or "smart" alarms that claim to measure REM sleep are only GUESSING.  There are some published studies about the "average" person spending "X Number of Minutes" in Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, REM, Stage 4, etc.   So, the other trackers are just using those published averages to estimate REM.

The problem is that autonomic oxygen, pulse rate, and movement interruptions (ESPECIALLY oxygen interruptions) change that "average" time in each stage, and can completely mess-up the "structure" of your sleep.  Thus, anyone with sleep apnea will NOT be correctly estimated by other trackers.

A second problem is that the amount of REM sleep people get is not necessarily related to how rested they feel in the morning.  How "restored" you feel in the morning is related to time spent in each sleep stage, and how many times your body goes through the cycle of sleep during the night.

Generally, how you feel upon waking up is related to the quality of sleep you are getting.

EverSleep measures Fragmented Sleep, which is a well-known metric in the clinical sleep world.  From this, we can tell your exact amount of QUALITY SLEEP, and coach you to MORE quality sleep!   This is the single best measure of how "rested" you feel in the morning.


Note that there may be some confusion in articles you read about sleep stages - the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and some other medical bodies changed the definition of all the stages a couple of years ago!  If you see an article stating “Stage 1”, know that the article is outdated. The new nomenclature is Non-Rem (i.e. NREM1 or N1), N2, and N3, and then REM.


Many technical people like to see the graphs, etc, but non-technical people can rely directly on our "plain English" coaching tips!   If you NEVER look at the "numbers" for your sleep, the coaching will give you tips and feedback about your sleep improvement.

Other sleep trackers or "smart" alarms that claim to measure REM sleep are only GUESSING.

bottom of page