Sleep Quality Vs. Quantity: How You Sleep Is More Important Than How Long You Sleep
You’ve probably heard that 8 hours of sleep is essential to feel your best during the day and to avoid both short- and long-term health problems that come from getting insufficient rest. What you may not know is that most studies place as much emphasis on the quality of the sleep you’re getting as the quantity. Just being in bed for eight hours each night isn’t enough to ensure that you’re enjoying the benefits of proper rest.
How important is quality sleep? In an ideal world, we would all get 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep every night. But for most of us, that’s a challenge in the best of times. Our jobs, our daily routines, stress levels, and even medical conditions can interfere with the quality of the sleep we experience during the hours we spend in bed. Most experts agree that quality sleep is vital to our health and happiness.
If you struggle to get to sleep, wake up multiple times throughout the night, or suffer from snoring or other breathing problems while asleep—you’re probably not getting as much quality rest as you need to be at your best. This can have an immediate impact on daytime performance and threaten your overall health.
Why Is Sleep Quality More Important Than Quantity?
Too little sleep and poor-quality sleep are both reasons for concern. A lack of sufficient rest causes sleep deprivation, which can lead to accidents, reduced mental acuity, weight gain, and other health issues. But traditionally, the focus has been on getting the necessary hours of sleep. The recent turn toward quality reflects the reality that the quality of the sleep you’re getting determines whether the hours you spend in bed are actually benefitting you.
How Is Sleep Quality Measured?
There isn’t a scientific consensus on how to best measure sleep quality, but there are some common elements that experts look at to determine whether someone is getting quality sleep.
How fast you fall asleep is one key indicator of sleep quality. If it takes you more than 20-30 minutes to fall asleep after you go to bed, it’s a warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored.
How soundly you sleep throughout the night is another important measure of sleep quality. If you’re a light sleeper, have trouble staying asleep, or experience physical symptoms like restless legs, snoring, or irregular breathing patterns, then your body isn’t getting the restorative benefits of quality sleep for the full amount of time that you’re in bed.
Sleep cycles are another thing that sleep experts look at to evaluate the quality of someone’s sleep. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) marks the deepest and most restorative sleep that we get. A quality night of sleep lets us pass through multiple REM cycles. The time that it takes to reach a REM cycle, how long they last, and how much time passes between cycles differs from person to person.
Are You at Risk for Poor Sleep Quality?
The National Sleep Foundation has determined that certain characteristics place a person at higher risk for low-quality sleep. These include being older, being female, being non-white, and being single. In addition to these demographic risk factors, there are health conditions that affect the quality of your sleep. However, there is another factor that can impact your rest as much as any of these—your job.
Working night-shifts or swing-shifts can have a major impact on your sleep. No matter what shift you work, if your job is causing you to stress, it can lead to a reduction in the quality of your sleep. There are strategies that you can use to try to cope with the disruptions that shift work cause to your sleep routine. Managing stress is important because sleep deprivation will only exacerbate the issue.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting quality sleep is to invest in a comfortable, high-quality mattress. Shovlin Mattress Factory has an unbelievable selection to ensure that every sleeper finds a mattress to fit their needs.
Contact Shovlin Mattress Factory today to have one of our experts help you find the right mattress for you!