How to Tell If You Actually Got a Good Night of Sleep

These four indicators can tell you a lot about your snooze sessions.

We all know that there are some trustworthy tricks to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep (like not taking a hot shower before bed and sleeping with your socks on, to name a few), but come morning, how do you know if you actually got a good night’s rest?

The National Sleep Foundation has pinpointed four simple indicators of quality sleep based on the findings of over 275 peer-reviewed sleep studies. In a piece on the Huffington Post, chief executive officer of the National Sleep Foundation, David Cloud, said, in a world where trackers of everything from fitness to sleep rule, these indicators are aimed at helping people understand what good and healthy sleep looks like, so they can actually, you know, understand what it is their tracker is telling them about their sleep patterns. Below, the four indicators that tell you if you did, in fact, get a good night’s rest. 

  1. You were asleep for at least 85 percent of the time you spent in bed. As in, you didn’t spend half the night wondering, “Why the [insert expletive here] aren’t I asleep right now?”
  2. It took you 30 minutes or less to fall asleep (or if you’re over the age of 65, up to 60 minutes). 
  3. You didn’t wake up for more than five minutes in the middle of the night more than once (or twice, if you’re 65 or older).
  4. You spent less than 20 minutes awake after initially falling asleep.

But if your sleep patterns don’t exactly align with these four indicators of a good night’s rest, don’t freak out — we’re all individuals and not everyone’s sleep looks exactly the same, Sabra Abbott, a neurologist specializing in sleep disorders at Northwestern Memorial hospital, told the Huffington Post. These are just indicators to help people understand, at a base level, what good quality sleep looks like.

If you’re worried about your sleep quality, though, Abbott encourages you to ask yourself how you feel when you wake up in the mornings: Do you usually feel like you could have gotten better sleep? Do you often feel tired throughout the day? If you answered yes to either of those, sleep may be something worth talking to your doctor about.

Now we know the four questions you’ll be asking yourself tomorrow morning!

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