A good night’s sleep is something that many have trouble experiencing, but there has also been a bit of confusion regarding what it is that defines a high quality slumber.
The National Sleep Foundation questioned a panel of experts and has come up with a list of factors that characterize good quality rest.
Among them are spending at least 85% of one’s time in bed asleep and taking no more than 30 minutes to arrive at that state.
RELATED: Sleep tips
The scent of lavender is known to be very relaxing and can help you get to sleep at night.
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Shut off the screens
Avoid being on your computer, phone or e-reader before going to sleep. Studies have shown the use of these items before bed can decrease the quality of your sleep.
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Taking sleeping pills sounds scary to many people, but melatonin supplements are like a sleep vitamin, giving you a little extra of the naturally produced hormone.
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Stick to a schedule
Going to sleep and waking at the same time every day helps your natural sleep/wake cycle. You sleep much better when you go to bed when actually drowsy and wake naturally at the same time each day.
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Regular exercise, even as little as 20 mins a day can help you sleep better at night.
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Skip the afternoon nap
Taking a nap during the day can exasperate insomnia for many people.
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Other key indicators of satisfactory sleep involve prolonged rest, experiencing an interruption only once, and not exceeding 20 minutes of wakefulness after sleep sets in for the first time.
The National Sleep Foundation encourages the use of the many sleep-monitoring technologies available, as they can identify problems, which, it points out, would be “otherwise unknown.”
It also notes in its Sleep Health Index that 27% of people do not fall asleep within the optimal 30-minute window.
Maurice Ohayon, director of the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center, commented, “In the past, we defined sleep by its negative outcomes including sleep dissatisfaction, which were useful for identifying underlying pathology. Clearly this is not the whole story. With this initiative, we are now on a better course towards defining sleep health.”