The importance of sleep: quantity vs quality

When it comes to sleep, do you focus on the quality or the quantity you’re getting? Sleep promotes healing and growth and general wellbeing. For maximum gain, we should be prioritising both quality and quantity. 

Guidelines suggest the average adult needs around 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Some find they can’t function on less, whilst others thrive on 6 hours per night. Just as the amount of sleep you get can leave you feeling energised or drained, so too can the quality of the sleep you experience. 

Sleep quantity is the amount of sleep we get. Bear in mind that we should factor in extra time for actually falling asleep, just because we’re in bed from 10pm – 7am doesn’t mean we’ll be sleeping for 9 hours, it often takes time to nod off. Each person’s sleep requirements are unique, try assessing how you feel after sleeping for 8 hours and add, or reduce time as needed. 

Sleep quality is how well you sleep. Can you nod off within half an hour of going to bed? Do you wake feeling rejuvenated and recharged in the morning? Do you mostly sleep through the night and are able to get back to sleep after occasional night waking? These are all signs of good sleep quality. 

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may need to address the amount of time you’re giving yourself to sleep and factors that influence the quality of your sleep: 

  • Taking in excess of 30 mins to fall asleep after getting into bed. 
  • Waking two or more times each night. 
  • Being awake for more than 20 mins when you do wake. 
  • Feeling tired and lacking in concentration during the day. 
  • Relying on caffeine and sugary foods for energy. 

Unhelpful habits, chronic illness, sleep disorders and high stress can all contribute to poor sleep. By addressing both quality and quantity of sleep, you’ll maximise your chances of restorative, restful slumber. Zzzz.   


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