When talking about sleep, you hear a lot about the importance of getting enough sleep. What you may not be aware of is that how well you sleep in those 8 hours is just as important as how long you sleep.
Laying in bed all night tossing and turning just isn’t going to cut it.
Quality sleep means you fall asleep fast and stay asleep. By spending most of your time in bed asleep, you significantly improve your mood, energy, and concentration, among other things. A good night’s sleep can make all the difference in the world when you open your eyes.
Below you will learn all about how sleep quality affects your quality of life and some simple ways you can improve your quality of sleep every night.
Why Sleep Quality Is Important
Sleep is one of the cornerstones of human needs. Just like food, water, and air, the quality of your sleep determines a lot about how your day is going to go.
On one hand, you could wake up feeling well-rested and energized for the day ahead. You slept through the night without waking up for long periods of time so your mind is awake and alert. You’ll probably get a lot done without feeling like you need a nap halfway through the day.
On the other hand, you could wake up feeling groggy. You laid in bed for well over an hour trying to fall asleep and even after you did, you ended up waking up a few times and found it hard to fall back to sleep. Productivity is out the window and all you can think about all day is going back to bed.
The quality of your sleep plays a huge factor in things such as mood, decision-making, memory, judgment, reflexes, and your ability to learn new things.
How Sleep Quality Affects Your Health
Both not getting enough sleep and sleeping poorly have a significant effect on your physical and mental health. It’s recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep every night. Not 8 hours of poor sleep or 5 hours of really good sleep. Both quantity and quality are important.
Poor sleep quality can contribute to a number of health issues including:
High blood pressure
Weak immune system
The quality of sleep you get can also negatively affect your mental health, leading to problems focusing, lower productivity, and poor job performance. It can even make it more difficult for you to perform tasks such as driving.
Many people suffering from depression report having trouble sleeping well at night.
Looking after your health means getting enough sleep and making sure you’re getting the best sleep possible. If you’re unsure what might be leading to your poor quality of sleep, you might be able to chalk it up to one of the things below.
Contributing Factors to Poor Sleep Quality
While “good quality” sleep means different things to different people, poor sleep quality is generally defined as:
Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
Regularly waking more than once per night.
Staying awake longer than 20 minutes when you wake at night.
Less than 85% of our time in bed is spent asleep.
There could be a number of things that lead to a decline in sleep quality but these are the most common reasons you aren’t sleeping well.
An irregular sleep schedule makes it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. When you’re not going to bed and waking up around the same time every day, your body can’t get into the groove of falling asleep as easily.
You will also want to look at where you sleep. Electronic devices, bright lights, and loud noises can all directly affect how well you sleep at night.
What you eat and drink can also mess up your sleep quality. Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol can lessen your quality of sleep. Large meals or lots of fluids before bed may have you up during the night going to the bathroom, disturbing your sleep.
If you snore while you sleep, you’re probably not getting the best sleep.
And of course, there are sleep disorders and other health issues that can play a big role in your sleep quality, making it difficult for you to fall asleep or keeping you up all night with racing thoughts or discomfort.
Addressing these factors can certainly help you improve your quality of sleep.
Ways to Improve Your Sleep Quality
Implementing lifestyle changes is one of the best things you can do for your quality of sleep. By taking some initiative, you can consistently have nights filled with good healthy sleep.
Some things to try include:
Stop using electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet.
Create a regular sleep schedule and stick to it.
Don’t work or hang out in your bed.
Limit your caffeine and alcohol.
Do things before bed that relax you such as reading, journaling, or taking a bath.
Get sunlight during the day to reset your circadian rhythm.
Exercise in the morning.
By fostering healthy sleep habits, you will start to see an improvement in your quality of sleep that directly leads to an improvement in your quality of life.