Sleep assessment

Your body and mind depend on a good night's sleep for your physical and mental health, as well as your quality of life. While we sleep many important functions take place that helps the body to repair itself.

If you’re struggling to sleep, it could be due to an underlying sleep disorder. See whether you may be at risk by using our free online sleep assessment.

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Why is sleep important?

To understand why sleep is important, think of your body like a factory that performs a number of important functions. As you drift off to sleep, your body begins its night-shift work of recharging. Sleeping provides the benefits of giving your body a chance to heal damaged cells, boost your immune system, recover from the day’s activities and recharge your cardiovascular system.

How much sleep do I really need?

What's considered to be a healthy night's sleep varies by age.

Source: Hirshkowitz M et al., “The National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary,” Sleep Health, 2015;1(1):40–43.

 

Graph of hours of sleep people should get at night

Frequently questions about sleep

What are the four stages of sleep?

REM stands for rapid eye movement and NREM stands for non-rapid eye movement. NREM sleep comes first, followed by REM sleep. Then the cycle starts again.

The first three of the four phases are part of your NREM sleep. They can last between 5 and 15 minutes.

Non-REM sleep
Stage 1: This is when your eyes are closed but it’s still easy to wake you up.

Stage 2: This is when you’re in a light sleep. As you prepare for deep sleep, your heart rate slows down and your body temperature drops.

Stage 3: This is considered the deep sleep stage. It’s harder to wake you up at this point, and if someone does, you’re more disoriented.

REM sleep
Stage 4: REM sleep typically occurs 90 minutes into your sleep and is the stage of sleep when you dream. Your brain is more active and your heart rate and breathing quicken. Adults can spend about 20% of their sleep in the REM stage while babies can spend about 50% of their sleep in this stage.

What happens during different sleep phases?

Both REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) serve as important phases in sleep and for different functions in your body.

REM sleep, which is when dreaming occurs, helps our mind process emotions and memories. It is vital for stimulating the brain for learning.

NREM makes up 75-80% of total sleep each night. Many of the health benefits of sleep take place during NREM like tissue growth and repair. Also, energy is restored and hormones important for growth and development are released.

What happens when you're sleep deprived?

When you don’t get the sleep you need, you might find yourself:

  • Feeling drowsy, irritable and sometimes depressed
  • Struggling to concentrate and make decisions at work
  • Craving more unhealthy foods, which could cause weight gain

I always feel tired. Should I be worried?

If you’ve been practicing good sleep habits and think you’re sleeping well but still feel extra tired in the morning, then you may have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. Any problems with your sleep should be discussed with your doctor who may recommend you take a sleep test.

Man sitting on couch with guitar smiling at woman

What might be affecting your sleep quality?

If you’ve worked on improving your sleep health and still find yourself struggling to get restful sleep, it could be time to look more closely at what’s going on. Sleep apnea affects 1 in 3 people.

Source: Benjafield AV et al. Estimation of the global prevalence and burden of obstructive sleep apnoea: A literature-based analysis. Vol 7:8; 687-98. Lancet Respir Med 2019

Find out if you may be at risk by taking our online sleep assessment.

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What to do if you're struggling to sleep

Try these 5 sleep hygiene tips to give yourself a better chance of getting higher quality sleep each night:

1

Make time for sleep

Once you know what time you need to get to bed, plan the rest of your schedule around it.

2

Create consistent sleep habits

Follow a pre-sleep ritual for going to bed and waking up at the same time.

3

Create a comfortable sleep environment

Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and comfortable - especially your bed and pillow.

4

Turn off before bed

Watching television, reading, emailing and texting can ramp up your brain activity rather than relax it. Give yourself time to unplug.

5

Use a sleep tracking app

Consider using a sleep tracking app to monitor your sleep patterns every night.

Tips to building healthy sleep habits

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just about going to bed on time — although that’s very important. “Sleep hygiene” is a term often used to describe habits and practices that are conducive to good sleep at night and having the energy to face the day.

Apart from practicing good sleep hygiene, you can also try building these healthy sleep habits:

Get regular exercise

Any amount is helpful, but the optimal amount is 30 minutes, which leads to 14 minutes of extra sleep per night.

Source: “Consumer Sleep Study Based on 2 Million Nights of Accurate Data Reveals Startling Trends,” SleepScore Labs National Sleep Study, May 2017, https://www.sleepscore.com/news/consumer-sleep-study-based-2-million-nights-accurate-data-reveals-startling-trends/

Avoid afternoon naps

Naps can make it more difficult for you to get to sleep at night because they reduce your sleep debt. Believe it or not, sleep debt is a good thing because it makes you feel more tired at bedtime.

Maintain a normal weight

Being overweight and obese are associated with snoring and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which makes up 84% of sleep apnea diagnoses.

Source: Morgenthaler TI et al. Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Is it a unique clinical syndrome? Sleep 2006;29(9):1203–9.

Take our free online sleep assessment

If you're struggling to sleep, take our online sleep assessment to understand your potential risk for having sleep apnea in just a few minutes.

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References

Source: Source: Hirshkowitz M et al., “The National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary,” Sleep Health, 2015;1(1):40–43. * REM is short for “Rapid Eye Movements”. REM sleep is when you’re most likely to dream.

Source: Benjafield AV et al. Estimation of the global prevalence and burden of obstructive sleep apnoea: A literature-based analysis. Vol 7:8; 687-98. Lancet Respir Med 2019

Source: “Consumer Sleep Study Based on 2 Million Nights of Accurate Data Reveals Startling Trends,” SleepScore Labs National Sleep Study, May 2017, https://www.sleepscore.com/news/consumer-sleep-study-based-2-million-nights-accurate-data-reveals-startling-trends/

Source: Morgenthaler TI et al. Complex sleep apnea syndrome: Is it a unique clinical syndrome? Sleep 2006;29(9):1203–9.

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