I bet you’ve had an eight-hour sleep and still felt tired the next day. In fact, it’s probably happened more than once.
Getting eight hours of sleep is seen as the holy grail of sleep duration, but it really isn’t the whole story. Along with getting enough sleep, you also need good quality sleep. And we all know that quantity does not equate with quality.
Seven hours should be enough time for your body to get through enough sleep cycles to leave you feeling refreshed, focused, and clear-headed. But “should” isn’t always firm. Several factors can interfere with sleep quality, some of which you could be completely unaware of.
For example, you could be getting what looks like eight hours every night, but you’re being regularly disturbed by “micro awakenings,” often triggered by obstructive sleep apnea. These essentially undetectable awakenings can strip hours from sleep.
It’s also possible you’re distracted, agitated, and not fully relaxing to achieve deep sleep. So even though you were in bed from 11-7, your light sleep was low on quality and left you feeling less than “yourself.”
The idea of “enough sleep” implies a bare minimum, in a way. But poor quality sleep can leave you feeling foggy, unable to concentrate, irritable, and potentially increase the risk of illness.
So what can you do? The first is to take inventory of how you feel every day. If you’re struggling to stay awake or longing for more sleep, you’re probably lacking good quality sleep.
Your bedroom atmosphere can make a difference. Try to keep your bedroom as relaxing as possible, allowing it to serve only as a place for sleep and sex. A tidy, organized environment is optimal.
Giving yourself some time to wind down and relax, as well as setting a bed and wake time, might also help improve your sleep quality. Self-care and schedules go a long way in the sleep game!