If sleeping was a sport, it would be our favorite Olympic event. We might even consider becoming athletes if that's the case. But alas, it isn't, and many of us even struggle getting five hours in every day. Sigh.
Anyway, we already know how important getting enough sleep is. The only challenge is making sure that we actually do it, which requires a proper understanding of what a "good night's sleep" really means. For this, we asked Dr. Michael Sarte, a specialist for sleep disorders, who broke it down for us:
"First of all, it [good sleep] has to be at least six to seven hours. Especially [if you have] a very busy lifestyle, you have to regenerate," he stresses. "But in order to get the 100% of that, [the sleep] has to be deep. No cellphone, no TV, no noise in the room so you can get that good combination of shallow and deep sleep. With adults, we [need to] have four to five sleep cycles."
But that's not all that Dr. Sarte had to share. Turns out, being a night owl is not necessarily good for a peaceful slumber. According to him, our bodies start preparing for bed at 9PM by releasing melatonin, a sleep hormone. And if we go against that by not resting, the quality of our sleep can dramatically decrease. "We have to break the habit of scheduling day time activities at night—like working out or partying. Be at your most active during the day," he advised.
Moreover, not getting our required six to seven hours could lead to worse effects. Our memory, blood pressure, and weight will all suffer, and we won't be able to function properly during the day. It might even lead to diabetes or obesity, since we will tend to eat more food to gain energy.
Therefore, if you want better sleep, maybe you should consider becoming a morning person. Good luck!