Sleep: What Matters Most Quantity vs. Quality
Would you rather have three burned filet mignon steaks or one cooked to perfection? How about 10 fake diamonds or one flawless jewel? Both are personal questions that don't have right or wrong answers, but with most things, the majority of people would prefer quality over quantity. That may be extremely true when it comes to sleep, and your body's need for better sleep rather than more time spent in bed.
How long you sleep, the position you prefer to sleep in, and how much sleep you require are all very personal. While some studies suggest 95 percent of people require at least six hours and, at the most, ten hours of sleep every night. You may find yourself functioning more efficiently with less than six or more than ten. Of course some people depending on whether they are parents, or experience issues sleeping find themselves forced to function on what they're able to fit into their schedule.
The sleep cycle consists of three stages: light sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) stage and deep sleep. Sleep studies have shown that during the REM stage, a person processes and develops their emotions and creativity. During the deep sleep stage, the body spends time focused on healing, rebuilding and producing hormones essential to human growth.
New parents, or those with sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, or other health issues, might be asleep for 7-9 hours but they experience fragmented sleep, and miss out on restorative sleep. Experts recommend you try and sleep in 90 minute increments so your sleep cycles aren't interrupted, i.e. if you need to wake up at 7AM, you should go to bed at 10 PM or 11:30.
More tips to improve your quality of sleep include:
- Follow a nightly routine
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time consistently
- Avoid watching teleivision or during on the Internet at least an hour before bedtime
- Don't eat a heavy meal close to bedtime, but also don't go to bed hungry
- Maintain a bedroom temperature between 65-70 degrees
- Sleep on a memory foam mattress that relieves pressure points
How many hours of sleep do you get a night?