The 4 Factors of a Good Night's Sleep, According to a New Study

Updated 02/03/17
Urban Outfitters

Whenever we ask a celebrity, health expert, or skincare specialist for their number one beauty tip, sleep is often their knee-jerk response. Though it still remains a mystery to science why human beings need sleep, the benefits of high-quality shut-eye are clear: better mental focus, reduced stress, and elevated mood, for starters. People who sleep well also tend to be slimmer and have more youthful-looking skin. By now, we're all well aware that sleep is a good thing. The trouble is knowing how to get it.

Any scientist will tell you that before you can treat something, you have to understand how it works. So before we can go about addressing how to sleep better, we have to ask ourselves What constitutes a "good night's sleep" anyway? 

This is precisely the question a new study from the National Sleep Foundation aimed to answer. What are the "indicators of good sleep quality across [a person's] life-span?" the study asked. To reach an answer, the researchers analyzed 277 relevant sleep studies and concluded that a good night's sleep consists of four key factors. Keep scrolling to find out what they are!

What a Good Night's Sleep Really Means

According to the study, quality sleep rests on the following variables: "sleep latency [or time it takes to fall asleep], number of awakenings in less than five minutes, wake after sleep onset, and sleep efficiency."

In other words, a good night's sleep consists of these four qualities:

1. You initially fall asleep in less than 30 minutes.

2. You wake up in the middle of the night no more than once.

3. After waking up during the night, it takes you 20 minutes or less to fall back asleep.

4. You're asleep for 85% or more of the time you're in bed. (AKA, you're not lying awake.)

If you can check off each factor on this list, then your sleep quality is top-notch. If not, we highly recommend the products below, which Byrdie editors swear by for a good night's sleep.

Stadler Form Jasmine Aroma Diffuser $60 $50
Slip Silk Sleepmask $45
Whole Foods Market Restful Sleep $10

Are you a "good sleeper," according to this list? Tell us in the comments below!

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