Good night sleep: A how-to guide

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Good night sleep: A how-to guide

What constitutes a good night sleep? This is a question that comes up a lot. But in reality the answer isn’t that simple.

Sleep specialists consider that an individual who “sleeps well” falls asleep easily and wakes up refreshed after a deep, uninterrupted night. In terms of duration, it’s recommended  that an adult gets 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, of which 20 to 25% in deep sleep and 25% in REM sleep. But knowing these metrics doesn’t really answer the question.

Good night sleep and the influence of genes

Beyond these recommended standards, numerous studies have proven that genes play a major role in sleep. They have a direct impact on the following:

Your need for average sleep: being a long or short sleeper is mostly genetic. For example, some (rare) individuals need only 5 hours of sleep, while some need 11 hours of rest.

good night sleep

Your ability to adapt to changes in rhythm, to withstand jet lag, on-call time, off-peak hours, etc.

Your chronotype, that is, whether you are an early riser (about one-third of the population), night owl (16%), or somewhere between the two (50%)

Be in tune with your sleep

Since some of your sleep is attributed to your genes, comparing them to others is not necessarily useful. The best way to know if you had a good night sleep still remains to listen to your body by observing a few indicators:

Whether you feel tired or alert during the day. This is the most relevant indicator of you fulfilling (or not) your sleep needs. Provided that it is not influenced by external elements that would artificially modify this feeling (substances, medication, stress, depression, anxiety, etc.).

The existence of sleep debt, or hours of sleep you need to make up for. It is a strong indicator that you need more sleep.

The more extra hours you sleep during days off, the more it means your sleep debt was high.

The quality of your sleep

A number of awakenings, the time is taken to fall asleep, disturbed sleep that is marked by “tossing and turning”, are signs of bad sleep, and need to be corrected promptly.


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