Quality, not just Quantity, of Sleep Matters

Date

Each year, The National Sleep Foundation marks the week of “spring forward” (Daylight Savings) as Sleep Awareness Week. Good sleep is critical to good health, the foundation says, and many of us don’t get enough sleep, or the best quality sleep. To measure sleep quality, four components are generally addressed:

  • Sleep latency – the measurement of how long it takes you to fall asleep. Drifting off within 30 minutes is ideal.
  • Sleep waking – this measures how often you wake during the night. Waking up just once or not at all suggests overall good sleep quality.
  • Wakefulness – this measures how many minutes you spend awake during the night after you first go to sleep. People with good sleep quality have 20 minutes or less of wakefulness during the night.
  • Sleep efficiency – the amount of time you spend actually sleeping while in bed is known as sleep efficiency. The measurement should be 85% or more for optimal health benefits.(1)

The foundation offers this formula for people who want to calculate their own sleep quality:

First find your actual sleeping duration. Take your total time in bed (in minutes) minus how many minutes it took you to fall asleep and minus how many minutes you spent awake during the night. Divide that figure (actual sleeping time) by your total time in bed (in minutes). Finally, multiply that number by 100 to arrive at your sleep efficiency percentage. For example: 480 (total minutes in bed) – 30 (minutes to fall asleep) – 0 (minutes awake during the night) = 450 (actual sleep time in minutes). 450 / 480 = .9375 x 100 = 93.75% sleep efficiency(1)

Ideally, the measurement should be above 85%. If you’re falling short, here are a few of the foundation’s strategies: maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, finish meals at least two to three hours before bedtime, and keep a cool bedroom, between 60 and 67 degrees.

Reference

(1) National Sleep Foundation, What is Sleep Quality, https://www.thensf.org

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