Why Quality Sleep Matters
Why Quality Sleep Matters – Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
Written by: Sabrina Sourjah
Date Updated: 4/22/2021
Reviewed by: Patrick D. Randolph, Ph.D.
We barely get a night of quality sleep nowadays.
You’ve heard about employees dropping dead after working continuously for more than 24 hours or the burnt-out manager who can’t seem to get enough shut-eye every night.
According to the Sleep Foundation, about 10–30% of adults have insomnia, which interferes people from initiating or maintaining sleep. Women have a 40% higher risk than men to experience insomnia in their lifetime.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended number of hours differs by age. Adults between 18 and 60 years need seven or more hours of sleep each night. About one-third of US adults get less than seven hours of sleep daily.
What Is Quality Sleep?
It is believed that the quality of sleep has a stronger relationship with your well-being vs. the quantity of sleep you get.
For quality sleep to occur, the following conditions need to be met:
- Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
- Being asleep at least 85% of the time that you’re in bed
- Waking up a minimum of one time each night
- If you wake up after falling asleep, being awake for less than 20 minutes when you wake up
What Affects Sleep Quality?
Working for a different time zone, uncomfortable sleeping environments, the stress of meeting deadlines the following day, and using electronic devices closer to bedtime can affect the quality of sleep.
Medical conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, substance misuse, obesity, sleep apnea, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can also impact your sleep.
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation:
- You may be deprived of sleep if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
- Fatigue and not feeling rested even after getting the required number of hours
- Consistently waking up in the middle of the night
- Snoring or gasping for air
- Lack of focus or memory loss
- Irritability for no apparent reason
- Frequent mood changes
Why Quality Sleep Is Important
1. Overall Health
Sleep is when your body rests and repairs. The brain can attend to long-term needs like repairs and memory formation, and demands on the heart decrease as all other organs rest.
When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your immune system, weight, hormone levels, fertility, brain functionality, and cardiovascular system can be adversely impacted. In the long term, lack of quality sleep also increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, obesity, and heart attack.
2. Surgery Outcomes
Empirical studies show that postoperative conditions can result in “decreased sleep time, increased number of hours of awakening, lower sleep quality, and frequent nightmares.”
When sleep is hindered during the recovery period, healing can slow down because the body will not receive the required rest. When you sleep, your body repairs tissues and muscles, while more white blood cells are produced to increase immunity.
3. Mental Health
Evidence shows that lack of quality sleep is connected to depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, psychosis, and hypertension. When you don’t reap the benefits of restful sleep, you may find it hard to relax. Low energy levels arising from lack of rest can influence you towards a general disinterest in life.
Researchers have found that less than five hours of sleep can double the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases. According to research by Harvard experts, sleeping five hours or fewer increases mortality risk by 15%.
The required number of sleep time to optimal longevity is deemed seven hours by the American Cancer Society. In the long term, lack of sleep can also result in early wrinkles, fine lines, pale skin, and dark circles under the eyes.
5. Life Satisfaction
After controlling for other personality traits, studies have found that “those who sleep well are more satisfied with life.” The other factor that was found to be a predictor of life satisfaction is social relationships.
A connection has also been established between life satisfaction and sleep onset delays for those in their midlife. When one worries at night, sleep initiation takes longer, which can, in turn, lower life satisfaction.
As discussed, sleep deprivation can impact almost all aspects of your life. It is essential to learn more about how to get the most benefits out of sleep.