Have you ever wondered if a long sleep means a good night’s sleep, what is the most important quantity or quality of sleep?
Some sleep 7 hours, some 10 hours, but there is another difference between quantity and quality of sleep. We often talk and emphasize the need for quality and sufficient sleep.
Sleep, although often neglected and underestimated, plays a significant role and contributes to our well-being and health.
However, there is a significant difference between the quality and quantity of sleep. Numerous studies have examined the problems that can occur due to poor sleep.
People are often overly tired or overly sleepy, and sometimes unaware of why these conditions occur.
The answer often lies precisely in the quality of the dream.
That is why, in today’s article, we distinguish between the terms – what is quality and what is the quantity of sleep.
Why is it important to distinguish the quality and quantity of sleep?
When people think of healthy sleep or so-called “sleep hygiene”, they often associate it with the amount, ie duration of sleep.
Although this factor is important, it is not the only factor that contributes to healthy and complete sleep.
The other factor is the quality of sleep, ie the regularity of sleep when the body has the opportunity to go through all the regenerative processes and benefits that sleep provides.
These two concepts go hand in hand but are often equated, so it is important to be careful and both to be observed and fulfilled.
What is quantity when it comes to sleep?
By this term we mean the number of hours we sleep during a day.
The generally accepted recommendations for the number of hours we should sleep each night, depending on age are:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours per day
- Infants (4-12 months): 12-16 hours per day (including naps)
- Young children (1-2 years): 11-14 hours a day (including naps)
- Preschool children (3-5 years): 10-13 hours per day (including naps)
- Children who go to school (6-12 years): 9-12 hours a day
- Teenagers (13-18 years): 8-10 hours a day
- Adults (18-65 years): 7-9 hours per day
- People over 65: 7-8 hours a day
These recommendations are general and of course, there are people who are an exception to such recommendations and need more or less of these prescribed hours.
However, although there are exceptions to these recommendations, a large proportion of the general population is considered to have a sleep deficit.
According to some estimates, 50-70 million people in the United States lack sleep for some reason.
As many as 35.2% of adults in the United States report sleeping less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours a day, which is wrong.
Such figures actually show how often sleep is underestimated and neglected.
Therefore, we should not allow our responsibilities and daily problems to interfere with and take away the time we need for rest.
What is the quality of sleep?
The quality of sleep reflects the extent to which all the positive benefits of sleep are reaped.
Some of the parameters that describe the quality of sleep are:
Time to fall asleep – this measure means how fast and how easily you fall asleep.
Most people think that they can fall asleep in the first 20 minutes and this is considered to be a normal, normal time.
Continuity in sleep – the ability to sleep continuously and uninterrupted after falling asleep. High-quality sleep means continuity in sleep.
If you often wake up during sleep, your body and brain do not go through all the stages of sleep.
And with that, they do not use and get all the regenerative effects that quality sleep should give.
Sleep efficiency – this term describes the time we spend sleeping and the time spent trying to fall asleep.
Some experts believe that at least 85% of the time spent in bed should be spent sleeping.
Sleep timing – the period when we will sleep for 24 hours.
Our circadian rhythm dictates the periods when we are awake and focused and the periods when we are sleepy.
If it works properly, during the day, ie when we are exposed to natural light, we are awake, and with the arrival of the night comes the need for sleep.
Quality sleep is considered to be in sync with such needs and with the circadian rhythm.
Additionally, quality sleep is considered a practice of routine, ie falling asleep and waking up at the same times of the day.
Focusing when we are awake – Another indicator of quality sleep is the ability to focus and perform all the necessary tasks and tasks during the day.
This includes excellent cognitive as well as physical abilities during the day.
Feeling rested after sleep – such sleep satisfaction can be another good indicator of the quality of our sleep.
After sleep, but also during the day, the feeling of rest should prevail, which in fact indicates a quality sleep.
reads more: What Happens When We do Not Sleep for 24 Hours?
What usually works and reduces the quantity and quality of sleep?
There are several factors that can, directly and indirectly, affect the overall quality of our sleep.
As negative factors, we will first single out those that are the most common, and these are environmental factors.
Newborns, young children, shift work, stress, fatigue, and many other similar factors can really impair the quality of sleep.
But also occupy and take away the time we set aside for sleep.
In addition, a common factor that causes sleep problems is exposure and regular use of screen devices (TV, laptop, phone, etc.).
In addition to environmental factors and certain health conditions can adversely affect the quality of sleep.
Namely, these are various sleep disorders (insomnia or sleep apnea).
But also conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, conditions that cause chronic pain or the need for frequent urination, conditions that disrupt digestion, etc.
How can we improve our sleep?
There are several lifestyle changes that can positively affect our so-called “sleep hygiene”.
Some of them are:
General changes such as: regular physical activity, improved and healthy diet, elimination of the use of cigarettes and alcohol, attention to the use of caffeinated beverages, etc.
Better sleeping environment – quality mattress, quality, and comfortable pillow, providing a dark, quiet, and well-ventilated room where we will sleep, etc.
Avoid using screens just before bedtime.
Practicing regularity and continuity in sleep or adopting the so-called “sleep hygiene”.
Diagnosing and treating other health conditions that may interfere with our sleep.
reads more: Lack of Sleep Effects on Health and Brain