Sleep quality more important than duration to stay healthy

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Sleep quality may be more important than getting the recommended seven to nine hours a night. Those who nod off within 15 minutes and do not wake too often report having a better quality of life. This was measured by satisfaction, wellbeing, happiness, subjective health and work stress.

The researchers said: “While when we sleep and how long we sleep is important, individuals who have better quality sleep also have a better quality of life, regardless of the time and length of sleep.”

Experts from Charles University in Prague and the Czech Academy of Sciences followed 4,253 people in the Czech Republic over three years, with adults responding to surveys in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The study, published in the journal Plos One, also looked at “social jetlag”, where work and social obligations conflict with the body’s circadian clock.

It can occur when going to bed later and waking up later at the weekend.

The team found that sleep quality was associated with health and happiness, while work stress was linked to social jetlag.

The researchers concluded that sleep duration and the differences on workdays and free days “is not as important to the quality of life as what is considered a good night’s sleep”.

Professor Neil Walsh, of Liverpool John Moores University, welcomed the findings but said “it’s not clear whether poor quality sleep lowers quality of life or whether low quality of life leads to poor sleep quality”.

The sport scientist and sleep expert said studies are needed of “larger population, over a longer time frame and ideally with more objective measures of sleep and clinical health outcomes.

“The measures in this study were self-reported.”

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