We know how important a good night's sleep is. Not getting enough sleep is linked to weight gain, fatigue, depression, fertility problems and a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. But how do we know whether we're actually getting quality shut-eye?
Help is here in the form of new guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation. A panel of experts analyzed 227 scientific studies, and the results, published in the journal Sleep Health, is the Foundation's first ever official list of indicators of sleep quality.
According to the guidance, the following are signs of poor-quality sleep.
It's a different approach to improving the nation's sleep quality. "In the past, we defined sleep by its negative outcomes including sleep dissatisfaction, which were useful for identifying underlying pathology. Clearly this is not the whole story. With this initiative, we are now on a better course towards defining sleep health," said Dr. Maurice Ohayon, director of the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center.
If you recognize one or more of the above in your own sleep habits, you're not alone. The NSF's Sleep Health Index 2014 revealed that as many as 27 percent of people take longer than 30 minutes, on average, to fall asleep at night.
The good news is, there's plenty you can do to improve the quality of your slumber.
Put these tips into practice and hopefully, you won't have sleepless nights over, um, having sleepless nights.
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