Q: What is a good night’s sleep?
A: When you wake up feeling refreshed, eager to get out of bed and start the day; when your mind is clear and your mood evenly balanced, you know that you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
Q: Is the quality of sleep more important than the quantity of sleep?
A: Quality and quantity of sleep are equally important in determining a good night’s sleep. If sleep is disrupted and not refreshing enough for any reason, the length of time “sleeping” will not improve matters. Similarly, if you do not sleep long enough for your needs, even good quality sleep will not be of much help.
Q: Is it important to get to bed at the same time every night?
A: No. The most important factor determining your bedtime should be your level of sleepiness. If you’re not feeling sleepy, getting into bed will just lead you to toss and turn and you will feel frustrated at being unable to get to sleep.
Q: Is it important to get out of bed at the same time every morning?
A: This is much more important than going to bed at the same time every night. Most of us who work get up at the same time every day—we all need to accomplish certain tasks in the morning and get to our workplace or start our work at a certain time. This helps keep the circadian rhythm in check and, therefore, appropriately regulate our levels of sleepiness and wakefulness. An occasional sleep-in won’t harm you but generally, if you have a structured week, it is better to keep your sleep-wake schedule regular, even on weekends.
Q: What things are essential for a good night’s sleep?
A: Many factors can help determine whether or not you get a good night’s sleep, including the time you go to bed and the time you get up, the environment you sleep in, how much you consume in the way of caffeine, cigarettes, and alcohol (as well as other drugs), and your general well-being. Your mood, lifestyle, and physical health all play a role, as can a number of medical conditions.

Is your lifestyle affecting your sleep?

If you think that your lifestyle is leading to sleep disruption, consider the following questions:

Answering “yes” to any of these questions may be an indicator that your lifestyle may be impacting your sleep. If that is the case, it might be time to sit down and reevaluate what is important in your life and how you can minimize stresses and bad habits that can affect both your sleep and your general enjoyment of life.

  • Do you smoke?

  • Do you drink more than 6 cups of coffee/tea or 6 glasses or cans of cola a day?

  • Do you regularly drink more than 2 units of alcohol (1 pint of beer, 2.5 fluid ounces of sherry, 4.5 fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of hard liquor would equal 2 units) a day?

  • Are you under disruptive stress at home or at work?

  • Do you exercise less than twice a week?

  • Do you take fewer than 2 weeks’ vacation a year?

  • Are you dissatisfied, bored, or stuck in a no-win situation?

  • Do any of your relationships cause you significant stress?

  • Do you generally work more than 10 hours a day or more than 6 days a week?

  • Do you never do anything just for the “fun of it”?

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