sleep efficiency

Calculate Your Sleep Efficiency

The knowledge regarding the importance of sleep is becoming more mainstream and information about sleep is becoming increasingly available.  In turn, this is escalating the awareness of how important diet and exercise are for overall health, however, there is a third, lesser known, aspect of an improved healthy lifestyle.

Sleep efficiency, or getting the best sleep you are able to, is a vital contributor to living a healthy and productive life.  To achieve healthy sleep, comfort, time and routine are all parts of the recipe for success, but knowing how sleep efficiency fits into the equation can really help you improve your overall sleep health.

So, what is sleep efficiency?

Simply put, it is the amount of time you actually sleep minus the amount of time it took you to fall asleep and when you awake in the morning.  Dr. Michael J Breus offers a comprehensive formula to achieving ideal sleep efficiency.  He states it is first important to know that “The goal is to wake up naturally just about the time (meaning before) your alarm is set for that wake-up time. You already know what time you need to wake up, so you have one piece of the Perfect Bedtime Formula, which is a simple four-step process:”

  • The average sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes long.
  • We know that the average person has 5 sleep cycles per night.
  • Multiply 90 minutes by 5 sleep cycles per night for 450 minutes or 7.5 hours of sleep.
  • Then count backward from your wake-up time 7.5 hours and you have a starting point for your bedtime.

Dr. Breus goes on, “Take a look at the amount of time you spend in bed asleep (minus all the awakenings you may have and how long it takes you to fall asleep), and divide it by the total time you spend in bed; you will get an estimate of the overall percentage of how efficiently you sleep! While it is not exactly the same as monitoring your brainwaves, it is still a good measure of sleep quality. In the sleep science world, we like to see this number above 85%. We consider 85% as normal and really good sleep efficiency is above 90%.”

Sleep efficiency formula

Breus also provides a formula to calculate sleep efficiency that has an example as follows:

You go to bed at 11 p.m. It takes you 25 minutes to fall asleep, and you wake up 3 times for 5 minutes, 15 minutes and 5 minutes again. You wake for the day at 6 a.m.  To calculate your sleep efficiency, subtract the amount of time it took you to fall asleep and how much you are awake at night by the amount of time you go to bed. Divide those two numbers to find the percentage.

  • Total sleep time=7 hours,
  • Subtract time it took to fall asleep=25 minutes
  • Minus time awakened= 25 minutes (5 minutes + 15 minutes +5 minutes)
  • Total time asleep = 6 hours and 10 minutes (370 minutes)
  • Now divide 370 minutes /420 minutes = 88%

Know your sleep habits

If you are interested in improving your sleep efficiency numbers, it may be in your best interest to have a look at your sleep hygiene, the habits you have in preparation for bedtime and the ability to get the best sleep you can. Make sure you are comfortable and that the room is sufficiently dark enough to inspire sleep.  Also be sure you avoid strenuous exercise too close to bedtime and avoid alcohol or caffeine before bed. Lastly, remove yourself from the screen of your TV, phone or computer at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep.

Still tired? You might have sleep apnea

If you have tried these methods to improve sleep yet you still wake up tired and groggy the following day, sleep apnea could be to blame. Snoring, constantly living life in a daze, and mood swings can be a sign that obstructive sleep apnea is controlling your sleep. Consult your physician to discuss your symptoms and to determine whether CPAP therapy could help to increase your sleep efficiency and overall sleep health.

Once CPAP therapy is prescribed as a treatment for your sleep apnea, can help you get the CPAP machine and supplies you need to improve your CPAP compliance. Don’t put off treating your sleep apnea symptoms any longer. Contact Aeroflow to get free CPAP supplies.

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