What is Sleep Quality?
Sleep quality is an overall measure of how satisfying or refreshing your sleep is. The total number of hours you sleep is just one component of sleep quality. Sleep can be unsatisfying even if you get seven or more hours of sleep per night. Your sleep quality is considered good if you achieve continuous, healthy sleep throughout the night and wake up feeling well rested.
Different factors contribute to your sleep quality, including how many times you wake up at night, what stages of sleep you experience, and how long you stay in each stage of sleep. Poor sleep quality can lead to problems during waking hours, including a lack of energy and health issues. Signs of poor sleep quality include: feeling unrefreshed after sleeping; having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, even if you’ve given yourself enough hours to sleep; and waking up multiple times during the night.
How Does Sleep Quality Affect Energy Levels?
Experiencing poor sleep quality is linked to lacking energy during the day. When you sleep, your brain progresses through distinct stages that repeat throughout the night. Each stage affects your body differently. Stages like deep sleep are thought to restore your energy for the next day. When sleep is fragmented, certain stages can get cut short, and you may not receive the full restorative benefits of sleep.
Low energy due to poor sleep quality can show up as excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue. While people often use these terms interchangeably, there's a difference between them. Excessive daytime sleepiness refers to an uncontrollable urge to nap during inappropriate times, like at work or while driving. Fatigue, on the other hand, is a time-limited energy gap that's often accompanied by feelings of general malaise or a sluggishness throughout your body. Poor sleep quality—especially not enough deep sleep— can lead to both excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Sleep Deprivation and Energy
Sleep deprivation is a lack of sleep—either from not getting enough hours of sleep or not getting high-quality sleep. Sleep deprivation interrupts your normal sleep pattern, which affects your energy levels during waking hours. For instance, chronic sleep deprivation, which is sleeping less than six hours a night for a long period of time, has been associated with increased episodes of fatigue. When you become sleep deprived, an accumulation of sleep debt increases your risk of exhaustion and other conditions that involve extreme sleepiness, such as obstructive sleep apnea.
How to Improve Sleep Quality
If you’re frequently fatigued during the day, it's worth looking into your sleep quality. Here are some tips to help you reduce fatigue and improve your sleep quality overall.
- Try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day gives your body a better chance to get into a regular sleep-wake cycle. You can also set up a consistent pre-bedtime routine that can help signal to your body that it's time to start winding down.
- Avoid blue light from screens right before bed: Blue light—found in LED or fluorescent lighting and screens from phones, tablets, and laptops— can interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Aim to turn off your devices two hours before bed and instead, try reading a physical book or listening to calming music.
- Take short naps during the day: Napping can give you an extra boost of energy when you need it, as long as your nap is short. Longer naps can disturb your sleep that night and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol right before bed: Caffeine can stay in your system for up to seven hours, while the effects of alcohol can last for up to five hours after consumption. Consuming either of these substances close to bedtime can disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet: Creating a restful sleep environment can reduce stress and make it easier to drift off to sleep. Consider investing in blackout curtains to block out light and using a white noise machine. These measures can help drown out any outside noise and make for a better sleep overall.
Improving your sleep quality can help reduce fatigue and make it easier to stay energized throughout the day. If needed, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist to further diagnose any underlying issues that may be causing you to experience poor sleep quality.
One of the best ways to improve your sleep quality is to use a snoring mouthpiece. A snoring mouthpiece is a device designed to reduce or eliminate snoring. It also helps with other sleep problems such as sleep apnea, drooling during sleep and even teeth grinding. Snoring mouthpieces work by keeping the airway open and allowing you to take in more oxygen during the night, helping to keep your body functioning and alert throughout the day.
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea or another disorder that causes snoring, talk to your physician before exploring snoring mouthpiece treatment. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to some serious health consequences including high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and heart disease.
Snoring mouthpieces come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You may want to consult a doctor to find the right snoring mouthpiece for you, but you can also do research and find out which types are best for you. Be sure to look for reviews and ratings that will help you make an informed decision. Your health care provider can also provide guidance on selecting the right type.
Wearing a snoring mouthpiece every night can be a great way to improve your sleep quality and kick start your journey towards better health. With the right snoring mouthpiece, you can enjoy healthier, more restful, and energizing sleep.