The Four Requirements for a Good Night's Sleep

It all starts with falling asleep in 30 minutes or less...

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We don't need to tell you twice that sleep is so important: Past studies have found that not getting enough of it can lead to weight gain, a quadrupled risk of catching a cold, and even an increased risk for developing diabetes. (Yikes.)

But getting a good night's sleep is hard — and knowing what makes a good night's sleep can be even harder. Is eight hours really the crucial number? Is there an optimal time to go to bed? Is white noise good or bad? Do we absolutely have to sleep on our backs the entire time? We have so many questions, and sometimes even the experts seem to have conflicting answers.

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Thankfully, the people at the National Sleep Foundation understood our confusion and conducted a review of 277 studies to determine what really defines a quality night's sleep. In the past, we've defined successful sleeping as sleep that didn't lead to any negative outcomes or leave us feeling unsatisfied, said researcher Maurice Ohayon, MD, DSc, PhD, Director of the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center. But according to this new January 2017 report, it's a little more complex than that.

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So, without further ado, here are the National Sleep Foundation's four criteria for quality sleep (and no, getting eight hours is not included). If you're checking these boxes, you can rest assured that you're snoozing right:

  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 percent of the time you spend in bed.

If you'll excuse us, we have a very important place we need to be...

[h/t Science of Us]

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