If you're having trouble mastering your NREM-REM sleep cycle, it could be because you're choosing the wrong time to go to bed. (Earlier isn't necessarily better!) This handy web app calculates multiple bedtimes based on when you need to get up.
Sleep picture from Shutterstock
Like most people in the workforce, you could probably do with more sleep -- but waking up at the right time is equally important. If your alarm goes off in the middle of an REM sleep cycle, you could actually end up feeling worse than if you'd stayed up.
Sleep Calculator is designed to help you master your body clock for the best sleep possible. What's great about this app is that it bases its calculations on sleep cycles to ensure you feel well rested upon waking; even if you didn't get a huge block of sleep.
For instance, if you need to be out of bed at 7am, Sleep Calculator suggests going to bed at either 9:46pm, 11:16pm, 12:46am or 2:16am. While the latter times will obviously result in less sleep, you'll be roused between REM cycles instead of being rudely awaken from a deep sleep. The result is that you'll feel relatively alert and refreshed, even if you only got a few hours' sleep.
The app's calculations also factor in an additional 14 minutes, which is how long the average person takes to fall asleep. If you find it difficult to doze off, just add some extra bedtime to the total. Try it for yourself here.