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Sleep Better

Sleeping Better

Welcome to the first installment of Sleeping Better! Through this series of blog posts, we are going to discuss a multitude of things that have to do with sleep. We’ll discuss naps, sleep cycles, sleep hygiene, CBT-I, sleep trackers, sleep myths, alcohol, caffeine, marijuana, sleeping pills, and many other things. The goal of this is to give you all the information you need to improve your sleep quality and quantity. I’ll discuss behavioral tools to help achieve that goal as well as the mechanisms for sleep. I’ll also provide some resources for those wanting to dive deeper into sleep! For now, lets jump into the very first topic: sleep latency, sleep opportunity, and sleep efficiency.

Everyone has likely heard that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep. While this is not untrue, it does miss the whole picture. The NSF, National Sleep Foundation, recommends that adults sleep between 7-9 hours a night and when people hear that, they are quick to calculate what that looks like. If you need to wake up at 8am, then going to bed at midnight would be ideal, right? This is not exactly true because of something called sleep opportunity, sleep latency, and sleep efficiency. The recommended 7-9 hours is time asleep, not time in bed. Sleep opportunity refers to the amount of time you are giving yourself to sleep. If you are wanting to sleep for 8 hours, you need to give yourself slightly more time than 8 hours in bed to achieve this because of sleep efficiency and sleep latency. Sleep latency refers to how long it typically takes you to fall asleep. On average, it can take 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. If this sounds like a lot of time, don’t worry because there is some wiggle room here. If it takes you a few seconds to fall asleep, that is likely a sign of sleep deprivation and if it takes longer than this to fall asleep, some larger problem may be at play. With this in mind, it should make sense that going to bed at 11:30 to wake up at 8 would be best to ensure 8 hours of sleep is achieved. Sleep efficiency ties all this together because it refers to how much of your time in bed spent asleep. The lowest threshold for a healthy sleep efficiency is about 85%. That means you’re getting about 6.8 hours out of 8 if your sleep efficiency is that low. It’s important to keep in mind that we all wake up throughout the night, typically at the end of our sleep cycles, for brief periods of time. You very rarely remember these kinds of awakenings, but it is not uncommon for people to wake up in the night for other reasons. These awakenings contribute to your sleep efficiency, so it is important to give yourself enough time to get the restful sleep you need!

Thank you for reading and I look forward to going on this journey with you toward healthy sleep!

Fun sleep fact for your friends: Once you have been awake for 16 hours, your cognitive function is equal to that of someone who is legally drunk.

My name is Kevin Hooker and I am a pre-licensed therapist with a passion for helping people. Though my time as a therapist has been short, I have had the privilege of working with people from all walks of life. Anxiety, depression, sex addiction, and pornography addiction, and I’ve recently started working with those having difficulties sleeping. As a therapist, I think that approaching every conversation with the belief that the other person has something to teach you is a fantastic avenue to a fruitful interaction. I like to use methods that best fit you and your situation. I have experience with CBT, REBT, SFBT, and PCT but I also believe that a combination of approaches may be as applicable as a singular approach. You know yourself better than I ever could so on your journey toward improved mental health, I believe I should walk alongside you and help you reach self-actualization. Within all of us is the capacity to do good and the strength to overcome whatever we may be facing! 

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