Sleep Quality

Last updated: December 2020
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When it comes to sleep, there’s lots of noise around the subject of ‘sleep quantity’ – the amount of hours we should get a night.

There is no magic number for how much sleep we should get – remember one size doesn’t fit all. There is a consensus that around seven to eight hours is best for adults, however it’s important to not get too hung up on the amount of hours spent sleeping. Someone may get 6.5 hours sleep a night and function perfectly well the next day, whereas some need nine hours a night to feel fully refreshed.

Sleep Quality Or Sleep Quantity

While sleep quantity is good indicator of where to start when it comes to sleeping well, what is important is that the sleep you do get is of good quality. Sleep quality is how well you sleep not how long you sleep.

Good sleep quality is measured by how quickly you fall asleep (ideal is 15-20 minutes), the ability to stay asleep (waking just once per night) and spending most of your time in bed asleep rather than awake. Did you know that interrupted sleep is as bad for you as only getting four hours as night wakings disrupt your natural sleep rhythm and leave you with a poor attention span and a negative mood*?

Bad sleep quality is where you struggle to fall asleep no matter what you do, you may find it hard to stay asleep or wake too early and you don’t feel rejuvenated the next day.

How To Improve Quality Of Sleep

To feel at your absolute best make sure you regularly assess your sleep quality and comfort levels.

Creating – and maintaining – the perfect sleep environment is an essential part of achieving the best possible quality sleep which is vital for health and wellbeing. A restful bedroom environment should be cool, quiet and dark and free from distractions – that means removing computers, tablets, mobile phones and even TVs. Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed as the blue light that emits from these devices messes around with your body’s circadian rhythms by suppressing the sleep inducing hormone melatonin.

Comfort – whether that’s the bed or the bedding – plays a large part in optimising sleep. It’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on an old, uncomfortable bed so make sure you look to replace every seven years for optimum support. Use adequate bed clothes and pillows.

To ensure you experience good quality sleep it’s essential to follow good lifestyle habits too such as diet, caffeine and alcohol consumption and exercise regimes. Small changes can have a huge impact on how you sleep.

*Source: Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences, 2014