Besides the various statistical tools we are in the process of building, we have 2 main visual aids to help see a user's progression throughout the night. On the top we have our Sleep Depth Chart. The difference between the blue and green traces shows how deep into sleep a user is. As the two traces separate and the blue trace rises, the user is falling deeper into sleep.
Secondly we have our Sleep Heat Map. Here a user can quickly glance at a night's data and see how he or she slept. When an area looks random or messy, the user is awake. A tight, narrow block of bright color indicates a deeper sleeping period. Darker red color shows deeper sleep. Darker blue washed out areas show periods of REM sleep. If there is a bright tall band, this usually indicates a short wake up during sleep.
Well I finally got the chance to catch up on my sleep. I was aiming to fall asleep at 1:30 but my house mates were throwing a fiesta and I ended up rolling around listening to music for a little over an hour. Either way, around 3'oclock I finally fell asleep and immediately fell into REM sleep. My sleep last night was extremely cyclical, transitioning from REM, into light, then deep sleep repeatedly. It looks like each cycle lasted somewhere between one to two hours each. There were also quite a few arousals (darker lines that span almost all the entire height of the heat map) but I can't remember ever waking up. I guess my body feels that I received enough sleep somewhere around 10:30 and I started to gradually wake up. This is the first time in a very long time that I didn't have to set an alarm and I feel great!
If two nights ago was a good example of sleep deprivation, then last night must be what it looks like when a zombie sleeps. It's never a good thing when I don't get to bed before 4:30, and even worse when I have to wake up at 9. I can't complain too much, I don't think my roommate slept at all. Despite my lack of sleep, I was surprised to find a relatively natural progression of sleep last night. After going to bed and quickly falling directly into a REM block, the rest of the night was defined by successive transitions from light, to deep sleep ending with REM. Each cycle looks like it lasted about an hour and a half. I actually don't feel too terrible with so little sleep, but I'm planning on a nap this afternoon so come back soon to see how this week finishes up.
If you're curious what a combo of prolonged sleep deprivation and stress looks like, this is it. After falling asleep in less than 10 minutes, I was in deep sleep for about an hour. And then my body decided to catch up on its REM sleep. Starting at 5:00 am I went into three back to back REM cycles for two and a half hours. I guess my body thought that was enough because I then started to go back into N stage sleep before my final REM at 9:30. You can see right when my alarm went off at 10:05 (I figured an extra 5 min would make me feel better) and it seems like it didn't take long for me to fall back asleep, getting another 10 minutes of sleep after hitting the snooze button. If you're wondering how my sleep actually felt, it felt tremendously fast. Way toO fast in fact, I feel like I barely went to sleep 15 minutes ago and I'm already planning when to get my first cup of coffee.