September 08, 2020 4 min read

In our busy lives, we often feel that we need to sacrifice something to keep up. In many cases, people will sacrifice sleep for a better social or work life. Unfortunately, doing so can have detrimental effects and actually reduce productivity during the day. In this article, we will be talking about why high quality sleep is important and how you can achieve it. 


Sleeping more time while in bed (At least 85 percent of the total time)

Just because you are laying in bed doesn't mean you are achieving high-quality sleep. In fact, sleep efficiency is really important for high quality sleep. Sleep efficiency = sleep time/time in bed.

It is considered normal if you are able to achieve 85% efficiency and good if you are able to reach 90%. The amount of sleep you need depends on your age demographic. For example, it is recommended that newborns achieve 14 to 17 hours of sleep, teenagers 8 to 10 hours, and adults (26-64 years) to reach 7 to 9 hours. These recommended numbers have come from an extensive and comprehensive scientific study of health, related to sleep. Sleeping the recommended amount of time is essential for high quality sleep.


Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less

Falling asleep quickly is also essential for high quality sleep. It has been shown that people who are able to fall asleep in about 15 minutes will be able to achieve the highest quality of sleep. Many people can become very anxious about their inability to fall asleep at night. This can be a vicious cycle as the anxiety ultimately keeps them awake for longer. 

There are several methods that can help you to fall asleep faster. For example, the military method helps pilots to fall asleep in less than 2 minutes. The premise is that you first need to relax all the muscles in your face, followed by a release of tension in the shoulders, then exhaling to release pressure in the chest, and relaxing the leg, thigh and calf muscles. This is followed by imaging a relaxing scene and saying the words "don't think" over and over for 10 seconds. The premise of this method is complete muscle relaxation and it can be highly effective.

To fall asleep in 60 seconds, the 4-7-8 breathing method is useful. To start off with this method you need to put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and keep it there during the breathing method. Allow your lips to part slightly and make a whooshing sound, exhaling outwards. Next, you need to close your lips and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds. Following this, you need to hold your break for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. The idea of this exercise to stay relaxed and practice breathing exercises mindlessly. This will help you to fall asleep fast and attain high quality sleep.

Other methods include telling yourself to stay awake in a method known as paradoxical intention. This method works psychologically to reduce performance anxiety. Additionally, visualizing a calm place can help to get into a deep place in the mind and relax.


Waking up no more than once per night

If you are frequently waking up in the night then you will not be achieving high quality sleep. If you are able to sleep through the night without waking then you are achieving a deep and stable sleep state. There can be many causes of waking up in the middle of the night including sleep apnea, anxiety, insomnia, and a need to urinate. Each of these problems has some helpful solutions to keep you sleeping through the night.

Firstly, if your issue is sleep apnea then it is likely that you will need to seek medical treatment. Your doctor may send you to a sleep center or recommend treatment opens such as surgery, airway pressure devices or oral appliances to open the airways.

If depression or anxiety is keeping awake then you have two options: either address the root cause by seeking medical treatment or trying some home remedies. For the former, it is recommended that you see a therapist and potentially ask to be prescribed medication for your illness. Otherwise, home remedies such as meditation, listening to calming music, and exercising regularly can help your sleep.

Insomnia can be treated by not eating heavy meals before bed, meditating, and exercising. Additionally, you should ensure that you do not do things during the day that could detriment your sleep at night such as napping during the day. Trying to stick to a regular sleep schedule will allow your brain to associate nighttime with sleep. This will improve your ability to fall asleep and allow you to attain high quality sleep.

Finally, if the need to urinate is affecting your ability to stay asleep, you may need to consider limiting your fluid intake before bed and taking medications earlier on in the day.


Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep

Another thing that can affect your quality of sleep is being awake for less than 20 minutes before falling asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night and are awake for longer than 20 minutes before you fall back to sleep, then you will have a very disrupted sleep that night. 

It has been shown through extensive sleep studies that staying awake for periods of 20 minutes or more after initially waking up can have a detrimental effect on the sleep schedule and disrupt the sleep following the break in sleep.

Try your best to use the previous techniques to fall back to sleep after waking up. If you need to use the bathroom try to sleep immediately after you return back to bed.

Overall, you can attain high sleep quality if you follow these guidelines. With a few simple changes, you will increase your likelihood of sleeping through the night. These changes will decrease fatigue during the day and make your body overall more comfortable.