WHAT IS GOOD SLEEP QUALITY?
Find out what good sleep quality is and how you can have it today!
“Good” sleep isn’t just about the hours you sleep—it’s also about how well you sleep during those hours.
You can spend 8-10 hours in bed, but if you’re tossing and turning, waking up constantly, or incredibly restless during that time, you’re not really sleeping well.
Understanding what defines good sleep quality is important! You need to know what good sleep is so you can figure out how to eliminate everything that’s standing in your way.
Read on to find out what makes your sleep quality “good”, and what you can do to start sleeping better today.
Five Markers of Good Sleep Quality
Here are the accepted “signs” of good sleep quality:
You fall asleep quickly. The average person can typically fall asleep in 30 to 60 minutes. Roughly 27% of people take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, due to restlessness, an active mind, stress, discomfort, or any number of other factors.
However, “good” sleep quality is usually characterized by the ability to fall asleep in less than 30 minutes. Getting to sleep in under half an hour typically indicates that you have a healthy sleep routine and are able to relax physically and mentally enough to get to sleep without great difficulty.
Minimal nighttime wakefulness. A lot of people tend to wake up during the night—to use the bathroom, to blow their nose, to get a drink of water, or because they just have a hard time staying asleep. There are a lot of things that contribute to nighttime wakefulness, such as a late-afternoon or evening coffee or too much alcohol in the evening. Improper sleep habits can also be a cause of nighttime wakefulness—you may have napped so much during the day that you’re not tired and thus can’t stay asleep.
These interruptions to your sleep are definitely not good for your health, as they limit the amount of time you spend in deep, restful, restorative sleep. For your sleep to be “good quality”, you should wake up just once in the night at most, or, better yet, not at all. Sleeping well the full night through is a marker of good sleep quality that you should aim for!
Maximum time in bed spent sleeping.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to do a lot of their daily activities while lying in bed, you might find that it can actually compromise your sleep quality. The more time you spend lying down yet still awake, the harder it might ultimately become to fall asleep and stay asleep when the time comes to rest.
Take a look at how much time you’re spending in bed, and how much of that time is spent sleeping. You should spend no less than 85% of your time in bed sleeping. For example, let’s say that you spend 10 hours a day lying in your bed. As long as you’re sleeping for 8 ½ of those hours, your sleep quality is considered “good”. But if a lot of those hours are spent awake, trying to get to sleep, or tossing and turning, then your sleep quality isn’t as good as it should be.
Minutes spent awake at night. On those occasions when you wake up in the middle of the night, how long do you spend awake? Is it just a few quick seconds as you shift position or get a drink of water, or do you spend more time awake?
The amount of time you spend awake after falling asleep is a good indicator of your sleep quality.
The average “healthy” time is less than 20 minutes, but any more than that, and you’re crossing into the realm of disturbed and poor-quality sleep.
Quantity of sleep. Of course, you have to take into account how long you sleep at night. An adult who sleeps well will often be able to get between 6 ½ and 8 ½ hours of sleep, ideally undisturbed. They will wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and mentally alert.
There is no one size fits all answer to how long you should sleep. Some people operate best after 7 hours of sleep, but 6 ½ and 8 hours will leave them feeling tired the next day. It’s all about your unique circadian rhythm and specific sleep cycle. You should sleep as much as your body needs—no more, and certainly no less!
Tips for Good Sleep Quality
If you want to make sure that your sleep quality is as good as it can be every night, follow these tips:
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon (after 2 PM), and limit yourself to ONE alcoholic drink per night. Both caffeine and alcohol can seriously interfere with your sleep!
Follow a regular sleep routine, even on the weekends. Go through the same process of getting ready for bed every night, and it will train both your mind and body to relax properly.
Limit your consumption of food and drink for the 2 hours before sleeping. Have no more than a glass of water before going to bed.
Make sure to use the bathroom right before bed. That way, you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night to pee, and you won’t toss and turn come the early morning hours because your bladder is full.
Limit light, noise, and anything potentially distracting that could interfere with your sleep quality.
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