Whether you are looking to improve the quality of sleep you get or you are having difficulty getting enough sleep, the key is knowing the difference.
So, what is the difference between sleeping well and sleeping enough? We asked health and sleep psychologist Dr. Joshua Tal to find out.
“From a personal view, the thought of ‘enough sleep’ means the smallest quantity of sleep that enables you to function during the day,” says Dr. Tal. “Looking closer, a lot of people with just ‘enough sleep’ might still show dysfunction signs, like longer recovery after a workout, poor concentration, lower immune system, or short temper.”
On the other hand, ‘’Sleeping well’ means you are getting enough good quality sleep nightly,” he says. “This would mean seven to nine hours of REM sleep, stage two, and stage three sleep to account for the mental and physical benefits of sleep— better immune system, consolidated memory, repaired muscles, or improved cognitive abilities.“
If you are unsure where you are on the sleep scale, don’t worry—Dr. Tal has some tips that may help improve your sleep hygiene.
1. Take inventory of how you feel
If you are quite literally sleeping at your desk, or you are wishing you could nap with your kids, that is a good sign that your sleep is off. However, if you only feel a little sluggish at certain points during the day, your routine for sleeping may not need a huge change.
“It is normal to feel sleepy right after you wake up and then again after lunch,” Dr. Tal says. “If you are feeling refreshed, and alert during the rest of the day,’ then that, means your body is getting the sleep it needs.”
There are a few supplements that can help on the days that you do not feel like yourself. You can try ashwagandha in the evenings, which supports your body’s stress response and promotes better sleep and feelings of calm.
During the day, try taking a probiotic. Studies show that a healthy microbiome and probiotics can support healthy levels of melatonin, cortisol, and serotonin, all of which will help with your sleep quality as well as your overall feelings of well-being.
2. Pay attention to time
It is easy to just go through the motions of late-night interactions, morning commutes, mid-day meetings, without realizing the small amount you put back for yourself. Dr. Tal suggests making daily habits to make your schedule work around your wellness needs.
“Set an alarm in the mornings for the exact same time daily, even the weekend,” he suggests. “also, set an alarm at bedtime, and spend anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes doing a relaxing routine for bedtime.”
3. Create a pressure-free environment
The atmosphere in your bedroom contributes to the quality of sleep you get. This is why creating a relaxing environment in the bedroom is important for good sleep.
To start, change to a set of soft, cool, lightweight sheets made with organic cotton, and then add a quilt that is breathable.
Most importantly remember that your bedroom and also your approach to sleep needs to be calming, and stress free.
Author: Steven Sinclaire