Although the importance of excellent sleep to health has long been recognized, no universal standard has yet been established. On the contrary, sleep quality is frequently defined by the individual who is doing the sleeping. The term “quality sleep” can mean different things to different people depending on their lifestyles, habits, and requirements. Whether or not a person gets enough sleep can be affected by a number of factors, many of which are constant across reports from sleepers. Feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day is one indicator of a good night’s sleep, but there are other factors at play as well.
The quantity of sleep does not necessarily correlate with its quality. That is to say, even if a person sleeps for a very long time, it may not be quality sleep because of disruptions. Even though sleep quantity and quality are evaluated in distinct ways, sleep hygiene can affect both.
Why Is Sleep Quality Important?
There are several benefits to getting a good night’s rest. Sleep is as necessary to human survival as air, food, and water. Daytime tiredness is reduced and one is better able to function the next day. Better sleep is good for your body and mind and improves your quality of life.
Getting enough shut-eye is essential to developing into a fully functioning adult. Children, especially those under the age of 18, need far more sleep than adults do for this same reason. Getting enough shut-eye is important for the health of people of all ages for reasons ranging from disease prevention to injury rehabilitation.
The impacts of sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep are numerous. Physiological causes include a higher chance of developing a stroke, heart disease, or hypertension. Sometimes there are psychological repercussions, such a rise in anger or the emergence of new emotions like fear or depression.
Your own or others’ safety may be compromised by poor sleep. Insufficient sleep, for instance, might cause a person to make dangerous decisions that could have deadly consequences, such as getting behind the wheel.
What Factors Affect Sleep Quality?
When people don’t follow best practices for falling asleep and staying asleep, they may experience diminished rest. The following are also shared characteristics:
- Disrupted sleeping patterns. Maintaining a regular bedtime and wake time can help you get better rest.
- The place where one sleeps. There shouldn’t be any music playing or bright lights on in the bedroom. Avoiding electronic devices (TVs, computers, phones) that emit blue light, which increases alertness, in the hours leading up to night is recommended.
- Drinking excessive amounts of coffee, alcohol, or both. To fall asleep or remain asleep after consuming one of these beverages may be difficult.
- Drugs. Diuretics and other medications might cause frequent bathroom breaks, waking their users up in the middle of the night. Both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription sleep aids can have undesirable side effects, including drowsiness during the day.
- Snoring. Some snoring is to be expected, but chronic or severe snoring can disrupt sleep for both the snorer and their bed mate. This form of snoring has been linked to OSA as a possible indication (OSA).
- Issues with sleeping. Poor sleep quality is often the result of sleep disorders like insomnia, which make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Nighttime symptoms of narcolepsy include frightful dreams and frequent arousals, both of which can have a negative impact on the quality of sleep.
- Issues with mental health. People who suffer from sleeplessness are prone to developing mood and anxiety issues. Because of them, it may be difficult to calm your mind and get to sleep.
Sleep quality can also be affected by things like food, daytime exercise, travel, and chronic pain or sickness.
How Can You Calculate Your Sleep Quality at Home?
The first step in determining the quality of your sleep when you’re at home is to answer a few simple questions regarding your routine.
How Long Does It Take You To Fall Asleep?
While everyone’s time to sleep is different, the Insomnia Severity Index classifies poor sleep as occurring when it takes 30 minutes or more to fall asleep on a consistent basis.
How Long Are You Asleep in Bed?
Those whose time in bed is less than 85% spent sleeping have low sleep efficiency.
How Often Do You Wake up During Sleep? For How Long?
It’s recommended that it takes fewer than 20 minutes to fall asleep again if you want a good night’s rest.
The questions about your daytime and waking schedule that you should think about include the following:
- Does getting out of bed in the morning stress you out?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate or remain awake during the day?
- Do you frequently find yourself falling asleep or napping?
Answering these questions and keeping track of your sleep by writing down your routines and activities each day before bed can be aided by keeping a sleep diary. Keeping a sleep journal might be useful in figuring out what influences your quality of sleep. Then, if necessary, you can make changes to your routine or discuss your findings with your medical provider to get advice.
How Do Professionals Evaluate Sleep Quality?
You’re not alone if you feel like you’re not getting enough rest each night. You can improve your chances of getting a good night’s rest by making your bedroom more conducive to sleep, maintaining healthy daytime routines, and using other tactics for healthy sleep.
Seek medical advice if you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep researchers and devices like the Pittsburgh Quality Sleep Index allow doctors to assess how well patients rest (PSQI). The PSQI is a set of questions used in clinical and research contexts to assess sleep-related behaviors. Patients rate themselves on seven different dimensions, including how well they slept, if they had any problems while sleeping, and how their condition affected them during the day. Professionals take the patient’s responses to these questions and use that information to design a plan to enhance the quality of sleep the patient experiences.
When sleep problems like apnea or narcolepsy are suspected, it may be important to do sleep studies. Polysomnography is a frequent test in which patients are monitored in a sleep lab throughout the night. Other assessments include checks of the liver, heart, and lungs, as well as various sleep latency tests, in which the patient’s ability to fall asleep is assessed; the maintenance of wakefulness test, in which the degree of daytime drowsiness is determined; and the maintenance of wakefulness test.
However, these assessments are limited in their accuracy because of the subjective nature of determining sleep quality. Instead, the information gleaned from these tests is specific to the individual’s sleep habits and can shed light on any behavioral anomalies that may be at the root of poor sleep quality.
What Is Poor Sleep Quality?
As may be expected, the opposite is true for poor sleep quality. You have poor sleep quality if it takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, if you wake up more than once throughout the night, or if it takes you longer than 20 minutes to drift back to sleep after waking up. Even if you get eight hours of sleep each night, you may still feel exhausted the following day. It is worth noting that these parameters vary somewhat depending on the person and their age. Some of these changes include an increase in the frequency with which we awaken at night with age. This won’t disrupt your sleep if you fall back to sleep right away.
How to Improve Sleep Quality?
If you worry about the quality of your sleep, few easy measures may improve it. Make sure the room is chilly (between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is excellent) and completely dark (use blackout curtains to prevent outside street lights). In addition to reducing your alcohol consumption and increasing your physical activity, these modifications in your daily routine may improve the quality of your sleep.