Did you sleep well last night? Here are tell-tale signs that you got enough sleep, and tips on how to keep on achieving it
Today is not like any other day. You roll out of your bed with a fresh feeling. The weight of yesterday's stress was gone. When you look at the mirror, your face seems glowing; there are no dark circles under your eyes. How did you achieve this?
Maybe it's the app you've been using to measure sleep. Or a modern device to help keep the lights out of your room. However, you should know that your body recognizes it had enough rest, and you'll feel it, without a doubt, the morning after. There's a big difference between snagging three short hours of tossing, turning, and finally snoozing on your hotel bed compared to a straight seven-hour slumber that allowed you to dream peacefully and wake up with a positive radiance.
The Good Sleep checklist
In 2017, the National Sleep Foundation published a report in the journal Sleep Health, with experts assessing indicators of good sleep. In this study, they analysed less than 4,000 papers about sleep. Picking 277 studies that offer guidance on what a good night's sleep was, they came up with measures to gauge two factors: sleep continuity, which is the hours one slept at night; and sleep architecture, the way the phases of sleep was divided.
Using these data as basis, the experts came up with four indicators of quality sleep.
- You fell asleep in 30 minutes or less
- You wake up for less than 5 minute each night
- You sleep 85% or more than the total time you spent on your bed
- You stay awake at night for under 20 minutes
Two years before this study, the National Sleep Foundation, together with an expert panel, released a recommended number of sleep hours for most age groups. After looking at many medical factors, including anatomy physiology, neurology and pediatrics, the experts formed a consensus for their recommended sleep range.
- Newborns: 14-17 hours a day
- Infants: 12-15 hours a day
- Toddlers: 11-14 hours
- Pre-schoolers: 10-13 hours
- Elementary children: 9-11 hours
- Teens: 8-10 hours
- Young adults: 7-9 hours
- Adults: 7-9 hours
- Seniors: 7-8 hours
But aside from these scientific-proven indicators, Thrive Global also took note of other items that result from quality sleep. According to Yale medicine professor Meir Kryger MD, a healthy sleep pattern consequently leads to a good mood, less need for napping, ability to function without relying on coffee, and a brighter outlook.
Too much snooze, you lose
Good sleep is not just factored in the amount of sleep hours. It's not the more, the merrier. Oversleeping can even have harmful side effects and puts you at risk of diabetes, heart attacks, obesity and lessened fertility.
Sleeping in a bit more during weekends is not a big deal, but doing this on a regular basis may affect your body's circadian rhythm, which pushes it to compensate for the time change. Excessive sleeping may also be a sign of other health problems, such as hypersomnia, anxiety or depression. It can make you feel lethargic and can cause you to be a hazard, especially when on the road.
In fact, Amerisleep has put together the dangerous impacts of oversleeping, which can also be traced to one's physical and mental well-being. According to the website, those who sleep far more than they should have impaired cognition and are more prone to degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and dementia. One could also experience increased pain and chronic inflammation, especially when paired with certain lifestyle factors such as smoking. Oversleeping can also be traced to all-cause mortality risk.
In a study lead by clinical psychologist Dr Michael Grandner, oversleeping is caused by fatigue, immune dysfunction, lack of motivation and sleep fragmentation (more time spent in bed awake).
How to measure if you had too much sleep? Here are the signs:
- You woke up still feeling tired
- Your body feels heavy after more than 8 hours of napping
- You gain more weight
- You have frequent headaches
Balancing your Zzzs
7-9 hours is good enough of a sleep for you, whether it is on weekends or weekdays. In order to achieve a balanced quality sleep, it’s important to spend your hours wisely out of bed, and on your bed. We recommend:
- Setting your wake time after your optimal hours of sleep
- Getting a healthy dose of sunlight first thing in the morning
- Healthy eating; food and flavours are to be enjoyed in moderate consistencies
- Taking power naps post-lunch dip, but don’t go on for too long!
- Avoid sleeping past 4PM, as this throws off your biological clock
- Committing to a quality sleeping pattern