Episode 1

insomnia Sep 01, 2020

The Most Common Question I’m Asked as a Sleep Specialist

Why Don’t I Feel Well Rested?


  • In this episode I answer this most common question about why you may not be waking up feeling like you want, and outlining for you how to overcome that
    • The answer always boils down to one of two deficits: Quantity or Quality (and sometimes both!)
  • Quantity: 8 Hour Rule or Myth?
    • That Goldilocks sweet spot depends on age, but adults are recommended to achieve 7-9 hours of time in bed nightly, which roughly translates to about 6-8 hours of actual sleep time
    • Insufficient sleep (<6 hours of sleep time) is associated with a whole host of physical and mental health problems, including an increased risk for death
    • Excessive time in bed (>9 hours) is also a sign of major health problems, and is also associated with an excessive risk for morality
  • Quality: not all sleep is created equal
    • The best quality sleep involves a kind of non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep called N3 or Slow Wave Sleep  plus REM (sometimes “deep sleep” refers just to slow wave sleep, sometimes used to refer to combination of REM and slow wave sleep)
    • Together, this high quality sleep should take up about 50% of your sleep, but getting too little of these stages of sleep leaves people feeling poorly rested upon waking
    • Arousals or micro-awakenings we are unaware of lasting just a few seconds cause short interruptions of sleep. More frequent interruption causes poor quality sleep
    • Sleep consolidation is very important: not all 8 hours are the same
      • shorter sleep periods that add up to a sufficient amount not the same quality as one single consolidated chunk
  • To set yourself up to get the best sleep
    • Be sure the environment has to be supportive of sleep, like an anti-wake zone
      • Dark
      • Quiet
      • Cold
    • Get regular exercise (at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week)
      • It's one of the best ways to boost that slow wave sleep
    • Be wary of the Ingestibles
      • Medications (both over the counter and prescription)
      • Caffeine (cut if off at least 8 hours prior to intended sleep time)
      • Nicotine (in any form)
      • Alcohol
  • Check out the upcoming episodes for more detail on all of the above

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