How can you tell if you are getting enough sleep? Ask yourself three questions.
Do you feel well rested when you awaken in the morning? If it’s easy for you to make the transition into your morning’s activities, you’re probably getting enough rest. It’s not just about logging enough hours in bed; the quality of your sleep matters just as much.
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing so many times during the night that the oxygen level in their blood (and getting to their brain cells) is abnormally low. They commonly feel less rested in the morning than they did going to bed. They experience daytime sleepiness and can fall asleep easily during the quiet times of the day.
Are you alert throughout the day?
Making stupid mistakes doesn’t mean we’re stupid. We all make them when we are rushed, inattentive or just sleep-deprived. What kind of mistakes do you make each day? How attentive are you in your conversations with others?
When you finally roll into bed, how quickly do you fall asleep? If you’re sound asleep the moment your head hits the pillow, you’ve likely accrued a sleep debt.
Next: The Special Challenges of Shift Work, and Practical Strategies for a Good Night’s Sleep