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What IS quality sleep?

Do you find yourself lying awake for ages before falling asleep? Do you wake up multiple times in the night? Do you spend hours watching the clock or staring at the ceiling wishing you’ll fall back to sleep? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these, chances are your sleep quality is suffering.

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Typically, people focus on the amount of sleep they’re getting (or not getting) at night, but sleep duration is only part of what makes a good night’s sleep. Yes, as adults we need to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but sleep quality is as important as quantity if we want to wake up feeling refreshed and restored in the morning.

So, what is quality sleep?

Here are four important aspects of sleep quality, and what’s needed to ensure a truly restful night:

How long it takes you to fall asleep – the clinical term for this is Sleep Latency, it refers to the number of minutes it takes you to fall asleep. Counting from when you turn out the lights and first give your body the opportunity to sleep. Drifting off to sleep in 30 minutes or less is considered good sleep latency. You’re able to fall asleep easily.

How often you wake up in the night – healthy sleep involves cycling through stages of sleep during the night, and it’s normal to experience periods of light sleep and even to surface into wakefulness briefly in the night. However, waking frequently in the night disrupts the sleep cycle and reduces sleep quality. So, how many times is ok? For quality sleep, you’ll feel like you sleep through or wake just once overnight.

How long you lie awake in the night – referred to as WASO (Wakefulness After Sleep Onset) this is the total number of minutes a person is awake after having initially fallen asleep. Being awake in the night for 20 minutes or less is considered good quality sleep.

How efficiently you sleep – this percentage relates to the amount of time you spend actually sleeping, while in bed. For quality sleep and optimal health benefits, the Sleep Efficiency measurement needs to be around 85% or more. You can check out how efficiently you slept last night, by using Sleep Haven’s Sleep Efficiency calculator, here.

Some of the tell-tale signs of poor sleep quality include:

  • Feeling tired, low energy during the day

  • Having difficulty concentrating, being forgetful

  • Drinking more caffeine to stay alert

  • Feeling hungrier than normal, and gravitating towards junk food

  • Being stressed out, irritable, reactive.

Sick of wasting time awake in bed? Curious about improving the quality of your sleep?

Learn more about how you can support yourself to get a great night’s sleep, and optimise both the quality and quantity of your sleep, by checking out Sleep Haven’s Sleep Care Options.


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