Sleep Quality vs. Sleep Quantity
How many hours of sleep, really?
Everyone knows that sleep is important, but all sleep isn’t created equal. We checked with the experts to get the facts straight—so you don’t have to. And it turns out, the number of hours you are sleeping might not be as important as the quality of those hours.
Some reports say that an “hour determination” can’t be used to generalize the amount of sleep we should be getting.
HowSleepWorks reports that sleep can only be considered “good” based on the consequential functioning of your body throughout the day. A “good” sleep is when you do not experience any daytime sleepiness or dysfunction; you feel alert, active, and ready through the entire day.
In practice, this “good sleep” requires a certain minimum quantity of sleep, but also a good quality of sleep—not just quantity—which includes spending enough time in the different stages of sleep, especially deep slow wave non-REM sleep and REM sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that people age 18-64 need 7-9 hours of sleep EACH night. No cheating and playing catchup!
And, the MayoClinic states that the number of hours of sleep that you need can increase because of factors such as:
- Previous sleep deprivation
- Low sleep quality, frequently interrupted sleep
Consistency, consistency, consistency!
Your body thrives within a routine. Your body’s internal clock—or circadian rhythm—will grow accustomed to falling asleep and waking up at the same times. As we get busier and busier, it’s important to make sleep a priority. Set a realistic sleep schedule and stick with it. The consistent routine will make falling asleep easier and waking up less of a drag because your body will be prepared to start the day.
Research shows that going to bed and getting up at the same time every day improves the quality of your sleep, stopping you from waking up in the middle of the night and feeling tired throughout the day. Also, a consistent bed time and wake-up time can help to regulate your body’s schedule and help you to avoid sleep deprivation and sleep debt.
A consistent high quality sleep routine has shown to improve:
- Energy levels
- Weight control
The Do’s and Don’ts in a Sleep Routine
- According to the National Sleep Foundation you should:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
- Practice a relaxing bedtime routine
- Exercise daily
- Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound, and light
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow
- Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeinated drinks
- Turn off electronics before bed
Your phone is interfering with your sleep quality. Put it to bed in a separate room.
According to the National Sleep Foundation you should NOT:
- Eat less than 2-3 hours before going to sleep
- Drink alcohol less than 2-3 hours before going to sleep. WebMD tells us that, while alcohol is often used by people to help them fall asleep, it actually disrupts REM sleep, - making it harder to get that long term high quality sleep.