In the Journals

National Sleep Foundation defines what makes a good night's sleep

The National Sleep Foundation identified a number of determinants to ensure a better night’s sleep for persons of all ages. The report, according to the group, is the first to objectively define sleep quality and appears in Sleep Health.

“Now more than ever, people are using devices which track sleep. These devices are generating an enormous amount of data without providing the necessary information for the public to interpret it,” David Cloud, CEO, National Sleep Foundation, said in a press release. “The intent [of the report] was not to diagnose the public with potential sleep disorders, but rather to provide information to empower people and help them gauge their sleep health while potentially even making sense of some of the data generated by various sleep tracking devices.”

Researchers conducted a systematic review of 277 studies found through PubMed, MEDLINE and other sources. For the purposes of this report, researchers stated that newborns were aged 0 to 3 months, infants were aged 4 to 11 months, toddlers were aged 1 to 2 years, preschoolers were aged 3 to 5 years, school-aged children were aged 6 to 13 years, teens were aged 14 to 17 years, young adults were aged 18 to 25 years, adults were aged 25 to 64 years and older adults were those aged 65 and older.

Multiple rounds of consensus voting were taken on the findings to come up with what researchers called appropriate measures for indexing good sleep quality:

  • sleep latency of 15 minutes or less across all age groups;
  • ·one or fewer awakenings per night across all age groups;
  • sleep efficiency (the ratio of total sleep time to time in bed) from 85% to 94% across all age groups;
  • rapid eye movement (REM) sleep of 41% or more among newborns;
  • REM sleep of 21% to 30% among adults;
  • wake-after-sleep’s onset of 20 minutes or less for preschoolers through older adults;
  • ·no naps among school-aged children and young adults;
  • light sleep or non-REM sleep 1 of 5% or less among school-aged children, teens, young adults and adults;
  • slow-wave sleep; deep sleep; non-REM sleep 3 of 20% to 25% among school-aged children and teens as well as 16% to 20% among adults;
  • ·no naps within 24 hours among school-aged children and young adults;
  • 0 to 1 naps within 24 hours among teens among teens;
  • ·naps of 20 minutes or less; and
  • 0 naps per week among teens and young adults.

“While no conclusions were made regarding which factor is most important, the findings do indicate the need for additional research to provide more information to the public about all the components that are important to good sleep quality,” Cloud said in the release.

He added the findings are just the tip of the iceberg.

“In the process of developing the guidelines, it became clear that there is still additional research that needs to be done to fully elucidate many of the components that comprise sleep quality,” Cloud said. “The published guidelines provide a beginning framework to help the public better understand what good sleep quality is, while also informing researchers where data is lacking.”

According to the release, the key findings have been endorsed by the American Association of Anatomists, American Academy of Neurology, American Physiological Society, Gerontological Society of America, Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, Society for Research of Human Development, and Society for Women's Health Research.  – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Cloud works for the National Sleep Foundation. Please see the study for a full list of authors’ relevant disclosures.

The National Sleep Foundation identified a number of determinants to ensure a better night’s sleep for persons of all ages. The report, according to the group, is the first to objectively define sleep quality and appears in Sleep Health.

“Now more than ever, people are using devices which track sleep. These devices are generating an enormous amount of data without providing the necessary information for the public to interpret it,” David Cloud, CEO, National Sleep Foundation, said in a press release. “The intent [of the report] was not to diagnose the public with potential sleep disorders, but rather to provide information to empower people and help them gauge their sleep health while potentially even making sense of some of the data generated by various sleep tracking devices.”

Researchers conducted a systematic review of 277 studies found through PubMed, MEDLINE and other sources. For the purposes of this report, researchers stated that newborns were aged 0 to 3 months, infants were aged 4 to 11 months, toddlers were aged 1 to 2 years, preschoolers were aged 3 to 5 years, school-aged children were aged 6 to 13 years, teens were aged 14 to 17 years, young adults were aged 18 to 25 years, adults were aged 25 to 64 years and older adults were those aged 65 and older.

Multiple rounds of consensus voting were taken on the findings to come up with what researchers called appropriate measures for indexing good sleep quality:

  • sleep latency of 15 minutes or less across all age groups;
  • ·one or fewer awakenings per night across all age groups;
  • sleep efficiency (the ratio of total sleep time to time in bed) from 85% to 94% across all age groups;
  • rapid eye movement (REM) sleep of 41% or more among newborns;
  • REM sleep of 21% to 30% among adults;
  • wake-after-sleep’s onset of 20 minutes or less for preschoolers through older adults;
  • ·no naps among school-aged children and young adults;
  • light sleep or non-REM sleep 1 of 5% or less among school-aged children, teens, young adults and adults;
  • slow-wave sleep; deep sleep; non-REM sleep 3 of 20% to 25% among school-aged children and teens as well as 16% to 20% among adults;
  • ·no naps within 24 hours among school-aged children and young adults;
  • 0 to 1 naps within 24 hours among teens among teens;
  • ·naps of 20 minutes or less; and
  • 0 naps per week among teens and young adults.

“While no conclusions were made regarding which factor is most important, the findings do indicate the need for additional research to provide more information to the public about all the components that are important to good sleep quality,” Cloud said in the release.

He added the findings are just the tip of the iceberg.

“In the process of developing the guidelines, it became clear that there is still additional research that needs to be done to fully elucidate many of the components that comprise sleep quality,” Cloud said. “The published guidelines provide a beginning framework to help the public better understand what good sleep quality is, while also informing researchers where data is lacking.”

According to the release, the key findings have been endorsed by the American Association of Anatomists, American Academy of Neurology, American Physiological Society, Gerontological Society of America, Human Anatomy and Physiology Society, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, Society for Research of Human Development, and Society for Women's Health Research.  – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Cloud works for the National Sleep Foundation. Please see the study for a full list of authors’ relevant disclosures.