What is Good Quality Sleep?

woman lies on white pillow sleeping well in bedroom
by Beatrix Schmidt

There’s the kind of sleep where you wake up and feel refreshed. Then there is the kind of sleep where you wake up and feel a bit cheated like you didn’t fully recharge.

If you’ve been experiencing more of the latter recently, then today’s post has some really practical tips covering the 4 indicators of sleep quality.

It’s really important that all 4 indicators of good sleep are present for you.

The 85% indicator

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the first indicator of good sleep is when you are spending 85% of your time in bed actually asleep.

With the insomniacs I’ve worked with, they often believe that if they spend more time in bed their sleep quality should improve. This isn’t the case when we’ve had insomnia for long enough that our behaviour has changed and we don’t just go to sleep.

Lying in bed tossing and turning isn’t the same as sleeping well. Which leads nicely to my next point.

Fall asleep in 30 minutes or less

Your ability to fall asleep in 30 minutes or less is the second indicator of the quality of your sleep.

The idea that falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow means you will sleep well, is a total myth. Sometimes falling asleep very fast is a bad sign – such as you having had too much alcohol. This doesn’t necessarily lead to a quality night’s sleep.

Falling asleep is a process and your body will take time to transition. Less than 30 minutes is the healthy norm.

Sleeping through the entire night without waking more than once

Just waking up once and then falling back to sleep easily is fine. Waking several times a night is when it becomes a problem.

Insomniacs tend to worry about waking up during the night, as they know it can mean a bad night’s sleep for them, and tiredness the next day. As they worry straight away, that tends to wake them up even more.

Becoming a little more relaxed around this helps to take away the worry. The aim isn’t to never wake up in the night, but to stay relaxed when you do wake up, so you can drift back off again.

Waking for less than 20 minutes

The fourth indicator of quality sleep is that if you do wake during the night, these periods of wakefulness, which you will hopefully stay relaxed for, last less than 20 minutes.

If you are staying awake for longer periods, according to what I see from my clients, it’s due to worrying about not getting back to sleep. So it’s really key to stay as relaxed about this as you can. Try one of our online courses to improve your sleep.

To learn more about sleep see: The 10 Day Sleep Challenge

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