When it comes to sleep, it’s not just about how much you’re getting – quality definitely counts!
And just like measuring the effectiveness of energy or education, we can also measure the quality of our sleep.
A simple way to measure your sleep efficiency is with this equation: time spent in bed ÷ time asleep
How did you measure up? The higher your level of sleep efficiency, the better!
So how can you make sure that you’re sleeping efficiently and getting the high-quality sack time that you need to function at peak levels during your day?
It’s all about the Cycles
Sleep is made up of two stages: REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM sleep.
Your body has to pass through four progressively deepening stages of non-REM sleep in order to get to the key stage of REM sleep, which is where most of the refreshing of the brain takes place.
Each one of the stages of sleep is its own cycle, and lasts around an hour and a half. The highest level of sleep efficiency (and thereby, highest level of quality sleep) is achieved by having five light-to-deep sleep cycles. If any one of them is interrupted, you won’t experience all of the benefits of a good night’s rest.
So how can you help to make sure that you’re an efficient sleeper? By understanding what causes sleep cycle interruptions and following our 8 sleep efficiency tips.
Reasons for Poor Sleep Efficiency
Your sleep cycles can be interrupted by many things, and it pays to know what to avoid in order to get the most out of your time in bed.
Some of the most common causes for interrupted sleep resulting in poor sleep efficiency include:
- Sleep disorders
- Late-night eating
- Electronic device usage
- Noise or light disturbances
While you can’t avoid all of these causes for disrupted sleep (no one chooses to have restless leg syndrome or noisy neighbors, after all), you can remove some of them and help yourself to get the highest quality sleep possible by following these 8 tips...
The 8 Es of Sleep Efficiency
nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol at least four hours before bedtime.
a doctor to help you identify and treat any possible sleep disorders.
in relaxing activities before bed, like meditating, reading, or journaling.
bedtime by creating a sleep haven with a cool, dark, and comforting bedroom.
on a regular basis – preferably outdoors and no less than two hours before bed.
a consistent bedtime routine, and stick to it – even on weekends.
the use of sleep tracking apps on your smart phone to measure sleep quality.
sensibly before bed by avoiding fatty or rich foods at dinner (or as a pre-bedtime snack).
Following these simple tips will help you to become the most efficient sleeper that you can be, and cash in on the benefits of getting the highest quality of sleep