It is not enough to jump on the bed after a busy day and close your eyes for some hours after pressing your phone awhile, and you believe you actually slept. The science of sleep has shown us that sleep is a deliberate act, more than just the mere absence of consciousness. What makes for an ideal sleep?
Sleep is one of the most important activities of life; it is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. Under normal conditions, a 90 years old man should have spent roughly 27 years of his life asleep. Quality, sufficient, conducive sleep undergirds high productivity and impact. Developing sleep disorders take a long cycle of repeated sleep neglect and prolonged poor quality sleep. To maximize health and longevity, it is important we understand the basic components of an ideal sleep and make it a priority.
The body needs a required amount of sleep to be fully ready for every other activity. This measure varies based on age, lifestyle and health. When you sleep less than the actual amount you need or more than the amount needed, you expose yourself to risk, sometimes, could be a life-threatening risk.
The ideal sleep provides well enough time for repeated cycles of REM and NREM sleep stages. You wake up feeling refreshed and recharged, ready to seize the day.
According to the recent National Sleep Foundation Sleep times chart, Knowing your sleep needs spectrum and making daily commitment to meet the need is a healthy way to live.
Following a world-class study that took more than two years of research, the National Sleep Foundation recommends a daily sleep quantity of 7-9 hours for adults and young adults and 7-8 hours for older adults.
There is an established consensus that adults should aim for 7 hours daily sleep, as this has shown to provide better health benefits.
For Kids and teens, a different rule applies
The ideal sleep is not just based on how much time your body needs sleep, but how well your body is sleeping during that time. A lot of research has been carried out in comparing sleep quality and quantity. Sleep quality is obviously lacking when you are tossing and turning all night, or waking up every hour,
Sleep quality is assessed by the following indicators:
- Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
Under normal conditions, you should fall asleep in 30 minutes or less of lying on the bed at night. If otherwise, there is poor sleep quality.
- Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep
Sleep quality is lacking where sleep inconsistency is experienced. A low score is given when you are awake almost every hour of the sleep cycle or worse off, waking up within 20 minutes of initially falling asleep
- Sleeping more time while in bed (at least 85percent of the total time)
A large portion of the total time spent in bed at night should be spent sleeping in an ideal situation. Good quality sleep experience means longer periods of deep sleep.
- Waking up not more than once per night
How often you wake up at night describes the quality of your sleep. Efficiency in sleep means fewer times of waking up.
READ ALSO: Sleep Revolution 1
Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference, it is not just enough to spend the recommended time sleeping or experience quality sleep anytime you sleep.
A sleep schedule is a habit of keeping the same bedtime and wake up time every day, even weekends.
This great habit helps to create a healthy synchrony between sleep and the internal body’s clock (Circadian clock that helps you fall asleep each night and wake up the next morning.). Erratic sleep patterns create disorganization and confusion in the body’s clock, and eventually affects sleep quality and quantity. An ideal sleep sticks to a daily routine
The environment of sleep speaks volume about whether sleep is ideal or not. The goal of sleeping is to provide all round rest to cells, tissues, organs and systems of the body. An environment that is out of order will achieve the opposite. Some of the areas to look into:
Bed Comfort: Do you sleep sitting or standing or you sleep on a mattress? Is your bed comfortable? is it neatly arranged with clean sheets?
Sleep Position: Is your sleeping position right for you? Do you wake up with sprains/cramps frequently?
Sleep Ambience: Is the room well ventilated? Does it smell well? Do you prefer light out before you can sleep well?
An ideal sleep is sleeping within recommended hours with the right quality right on schedule in the right environment.
It’s a Sleep More Revolution,
Let the Revolution Continue!!!
Don’t miss the next episode: Disorders of Sleep