The miR-16 family, which targets genes important for the G1-S transition, is a known modulator of the cell cycle, and members of this family are often deleted or down-regulated in many types of cancers. Here we report the reciprocal relationship - that of the cell cycle controlling the miR-16 family. Levels of this family increase rapidly as cells are arrested in G0. Conversely, as cells are released from G0 arrest, levels of the miR-16 family rapidly decrease. Such rapid changes are made possible by the unusual instabilities of several family members. The repression mediated by the miR-16 family is sensitive to these cell cycle changes, which suggests that the rapid up-regulation of the miR-16 family reinforces cell cycle arrest in G0. Upon cell cycle re-entry, the rapid decay of several members allows levels of the family to decrease, alleviating repression of target genes and allowing proper resumption of the cell cycle. Small RNAs were profiled by high-throughput sequencing either during synchronous release after serum starvation or during cell-cycle arrest by contact inhibition.