Woke Up in the Wrong Side of the Bed?

In an effort to improve health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has recently released the key indicators of good sleep quality.


These key indicators, explained in a paper published in the journal Sleep Health, were established and agreed upon by a panel of experts.

“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,” explained Max Hirshkowitz, PhD, DABSM, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NSF, 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.”

For the establishment of the key indicators, the NSF created the Sleep Quality Consensus Panel. Members of the panel were presented with 277 studies identified as meeting inclusion criteria. The NSF determined the agreement of the panelists using a modified Delphi RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method with 3 rounds of voting.

After multiple round consensuses voting, the panelists agreed that the key indicator of good quality sleep include the following:

  • More time in bed should be spent in sleeping, or at least 85 percent of the total time spent in bed should be used up for sleeping
  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once per night
  • Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling sleep

“In the past, we defined sleep by its negative outcomes including sleep dissatisfaction, which was useful for identifying underlying pathology. Clearly, this is not the whole story,” commented Maurice Ohayon, MD, DSc, PhD, Director of the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center, in a report from Science Mag. “With this initiative, we are now on a better course towards defining sleep health.”

The new key indicators of good quality sleep have since been endorsed by different health organizations, including American Academy of Neurology, Gerontological Society of America, Society for Women’s Health Research, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, American Physiological Society, American Association of Anatomists and Society for Research of Human Development.