National Sleep Foundation Defines a Good Night’s Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation released a report that outlines the key indicators of a good night’s sleep. With it, NSF hopes to provide consumers with some context to the data they are receiving from their sleep-tracking devices.

Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt like you didn’t get a good night’s sleep?

A Fitbit or another sleep-tracking device can quantify why you feel tired, for instance, showing you the amount of time you spent restless or awake. But what sleep trackers can’t do is tell you what would make you feel rested.

However, a new report published in the National Sleep Foundation’s journal Sleep Health [log-in required] hopes to help with that.

NSF convened a panel of experts to go through 277 sleep studies to help consumers—who are increasingly using sleep-tracking devices—interpret their sleep patterns, according to NSF CEO David Cloud. The panel came up with the following four indicators of a good night’s sleep:

  • Sleeping at least 85 percent of the total time in bed
  • Falling asleep within 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once per night
  • Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep

“Now more than ever people are using devices which track their sleep and generate a tremendous amount of data without providing the tools people need to understand it,” Cloud said. “NSF hopes that issuing these sleep-quality guidelines will provide people with the necessary information to make sense of their sleep quality and sleep health overall.”

A number of other health groups have endorsed these indicators, including the American Association of Anatomists, the American Physiological Society, the Society for Women’s Health Research, and the Society for Research of Human Development, among others.

“The National Sleep Foundation’s guidelines on sleep duration, and now quality, make sense of it all—providing consumers with the resources needed to understand their sleep,” said Max Hirshkowitz, chairman of the NSF Board of Directors, in a press release. “These efforts help to make sleep science and technology more accessible to the general public that is eager to learn more about its health in bold new ways.”

With its mission to improve sleep health, NSF is excited about this first step toward defining sleep quality.

“In the past, we defined sleep by its negative outcomes including sleep dissatisfaction, which were useful for identifying underlying pathology. Clearly this is not the whole story. With this initiative, we are now on a better course towards defining sleep health,” said Maurice Ohayon, director of the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center and member of NSF’s expert panel, in the press release.


Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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