How to measure quality sleep?

Dr Anas Seeda, General Practitioner, Medcare Medical Centre - JBR & Marina.

When it comes to setting sleep goals, most people focus on the number of hours they spend in bed. While that is a good benchmark to start with, in order to get the most out of your shut-eye you need to focus on the restfulness of your sleep as well. Discover how to maximize both aspects of sleep to wake up feeling rejuvenated.

  • Most adults should aim for the recommended seven to nine hours of shut-eye per night, but in fact, for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, some may need as little as 6 hours of sleep per night, while others require up to 10 or even 11 hours to fully restore their energy. Because each person is different, you need to be the judge of whether you feel alert after 8 hours of sleep, or if you’d benefit from additional 1-2 hours of sleep
  • Sleep quality refers to how well you sleep. For adults, good quality sleep means that you typically fall asleep in 30 minutes or less, sleep soundly through the night with no more than one awakening, and drift back to sleep within 20 minutes even if you do wake up
  • On the flip side, bad sleep quality is the kind that leaves you staring at the ceiling or counting sheep. It may be characterized by trouble in falling asleep and staying asleep, restlessness and early awakenings
  • In order to feel at your best, you should focus on sleep quantity and quality. Just like skipping on the amount of sleep you get, makes it hard to function, poor sleep quality can also leave you feeling exhausted the next day and even impact your frame of mind
  •  Good quality sleep, on the other hand, may improve your mood more than the number of hours you slept because uninterrupted sleep allows you to get the optimal amount of restorative sleep as compared to long hours of interrupted sleep
  • Sleep quality can be more difficult to measure than sleep quantity. There can be lifestyle changes made depending on the person (more exercise, or limiting how much alcohol or caffeine you drink in the evening) that can help improve your odds of a restful night

How extra sleep gives your immune system the boost it needs

  • Numerous studies have reported the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and now researchers from Germany have found that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells
  • T cells are a type of immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells
  • When cells in the body recognize a virally infected cell, they activate Integrins, a sticky type of protein that allows them to attach to and kill infected cells
  • Sleep has the potential to improve T cell functioning
  • For people who get poor sleep, stress hormones may block the ability of T cells to function as effectively
  • Immune system boost is needed to improve athletic performance, reaction time and speed
  • Extra sleep gives your immune system a boost which helps in weight management