Healthy sleep causes you to feel refreshed and well-rested in the morning. But unfortunately, healthy, quality sleep feels out of reach for some people. Some people suffer from poor sleep quality; no matter how much they sleep, they still cannot feel rested.
Healthy sleep generally includes three factors:
- Getting enough sleep.
- Having a consistent sleeping schedule.
- The quality of your sleep.
A person can sleep plenty of hours at predictable times – but without quality sleep, it can all be in vain.
Snoring and sleep apnea can prevent quality sleep, leaving you wondering why you feel awful after sleeping an entire night. Our Silent Night Therapy team of sleep apnea specialists can help you get the quality sleep you need for a healthy life.
What Is Sleep Quality?
Sleep quality refers to a long enough period of uninterrupted deep sleep that allows the body and mind’s natural healing and resetting processes to work correctly. For example, nine or ten hours of restless, interrupted sleep is not as healthy as six or seven hours of quality restorative sleep. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 70% of Americans report poor sleep quality at least once a month.
Sleep quality is a little more challenging to measure than sleep quantity. Counting the hours between when you lay down and when you rise is easy. But with sleep quality, there are more variables. Sleep quality has a lot to do with how you feel after sleep. It is not quality sleep if you fail to feel rested after sleeping enough hours.
Other considerations include how quickly you fall asleep, how long you sleep without wakening, and how quickly you return to sleep when you wake. Generally, getting to sleep within thirty minutes of trying can indicate good sleep quality. Also, waking only once a night and returning to sleep within twenty minutes indicate quality sleep. Further, there are ways to measure the brain’s activity during sleep to monitor if quality sleep occurs.
Why Is Sleep Quality Important?
Sleep is not just “downtime” when the body and brain stop working. Quality sleep allows time for our sleep to cycle through patterns, each part of which the body and mind use to restore themselves. When the sleep pattern is interrupted by waking, such as from snoring or sleep apnea, your sleep does not accomplish what it needs.
During quality sleep, the body and brain are busy engaging in the functions you need to be healthy. During quality sleep, the brain even flushes toxins and byproducts from brain tissue at a higher rate than when awake. The immune system also gets a boost during quality sleep. It is like a nighttime cleaning and repair crew that only arrives if you get quality sleep.
Poor sleep quality can contribute to disease and poor health. Immediately, a person with poor sleep quality can begin feeling mentally exhausted, physically tired, have mood impairments, and difficulty performing daily tasks.
Over time, the effects of poor sleep quality can include problems such as depression, anxiety, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, strokes, and obesity. One study has shown that five or six hours of quality sleep can provide greater longevity of life than more prolonged periods of poor sleep.
Poor sleep quality can also make you feel desperate for sleep, causing you to resort to unhealthy self-help measures such as excessive alcohol consumption or reliance on sleep medications.
How Does Snoring or Sleep Apnea Affect Quality Sleep
Sleep apnea occurs when your upper airway muscles relax while you sleep and pinch your airway closed. This restriction interrupts your breathing while you sleep. Sometimes sleep apnea is characterized by choking sounds or heavy snoring while asleep. Your breathing may pause for ten seconds or more.
Sleep apnea affects 3 percent of the general population and 20 percent of people with obesity. And although sleep apnea affects men more often than women, the rate of sleep apnea in women rises sharply after menopause.
With sleep apnea, even if you do not notice waking up, your sleep cycle is interrupted because your brain must wake up to consciously focus on breathing. Even though you may have thought you slept eight hours, your body may never have experienced a healing sleep cycle because of your sleep apnea. These interruptions can leave you feeling exhausted and can lead to health complications.
Snoring occurs when the airflow in the mouth and nose is obstructed while asleep. While snoring, in general, is relatively common, chronic snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea and can cause similar effects.
How Can I Get Better Quality Sleep?
If you suffer from poor-quality sleep, we can help you find out why and there are often ways to correct the problem. First, there are some measures you can take on your own.
Increase your sunlight or bright light exposure in the day and decrease your blue light or screen exposure at night. It is a good idea to stop looking at screens within two to three hours of bedtime. Doing this helps your body maintain its natural circadian rhythms. Further, you can ensure your room is comfortable and dimly lit as you prepare to go to bed, helping your body set its internal clock.
You can also avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant that inhibits sleep. And though alcohol is a depressant and may make you drowsy, it does not induce healthy sleep cycles but increases the symptoms of snoring or sleep apnea.
Contact Our Sleep Team Today for Help
Sometimes, these good habits and home remedies are not enough, particularly when a person has sleep apnea. You can become frustrated by trying hard, doing the right things, and still not getting quality sleep.
You deserve to wake in the morning feeling refreshed and rested. The sleep team at Silent Night Therapy is ready to help you diagnose the condition, find a solution, and obtain the healthy quality sleep you want.