The following article is a guest post.
It’s only when our sleep pattern becomes disrupted that we realise just how important a good night’s sleep is. Getting a consistent amount of sleep every night is a challenge at the best of times, thankfully scientists have been concerned with sleep research for many years and the tips offered in the below infographic are based on years of research aimed at improving sleep quality.
But before we even consider how to get a good night’s sleep, it’s important to understand what a good night’s sleep is. The National Sleep Foundation recently explained exactly what a good night’s sleep is with these four factors:
1. You take half an hour or less to fall asleep.
2. You wake up no more than once per night.
3. If you do wake up in the middle of the night, you fall back asleep within 20 minutes.
4. You’re asleep for at least 85% of the time you spend in bed.
If you are regularly meeting all four of these factors then in general you don’t have any problems with sleep. But if you are regularly failing to meet one of the factors then it’s likely your sleep pattern has room for improvement.
The Ideal Amount of Sleep
It’s common to focus on the amount of sleep that we are getting, especially when we are going through periods of not sleeping well, but the amount of sleep you might actually need depends on many factors, from your age to the time of year and how active you are during the daytime. So in many ways focusing on amount of time asleep isn’t helpful.
A more useful measure of how much sleep you need is simply how tired you are during the day. Both too little and too much sleep has the potential to make you feel tired during the day, so the only way to try and work out your perfect amount of sleep is to keep a sleep diary and to look for patterns.
Once you’ve been keeping a sleep diary for several weeks then look for patterns to try and help you to determine how many hours of sleep you might need on average, it’s likely to be between 7 and 9 hours, but it’s important not to be too hard on yourself if you aren’t hitting your target every night.
Down to the Business of Sleep
Treating your night’s sleep as a business process is a helpful way of thinking about the desired outcome; consistent sleep quality. As with any business process it can be improved over time but follows a standard operating procedure that must be followed in order to achieve consistent results.
A business style process for sleep may include elements that have been set out in the below infographic, such as when to exercise, when to dim lights and when to switch the screens off, and while these are just a few scientifically proven ways to improve your night’s sleep, it’s important to personalise your process.
If you find writing everything on your mind down before bed generally improves your night’s sleep then add this to your sleep process.
For more information about the science behind a perfect night’s sleep check out the following infographic created by De Vere Hotels: