Feeling rested and rejuvenated after a night’s sleep is everyone’s goal, but how is that feeling measured? Sleep satisfaction, or how satisfied someone is with his or her sleep, is a subjective evaluation. Sleep satisfaction is correlated with positive experiences in other areas of life (for example, physical activity during the day is associated with higher sleep satisfaction). It may also be independent of sleep quality and quantity (i.e., someone may sleep less hours than the average person but still be very satisfied with the experience). Discover the meaning of sleep satisfaction and how to evaluate your own level.
How Satisfaction Differs From Quantity and Quality
Unlike sleep quantity, which reflects number of hours slept, or sleep quality, which describes the condition of sleep, sleep satisfaction represents a more holistic view of sleep. It considers such factors as bedroom environment, exposure to light and noise, and room temperature, among others. And while it isn’t a measure of actual sleep time, it does include how a person feels about the length of their total sleep time and the time it takes to fall asleep at night.
What It Doesn’t Include
Measuring sleep satisfaction excludes some behavioral factors that have traditionally been associated with sleep, such as caffeine consumption or napping. These behaviors were excluded because while they may influence the act of sleeping itself, they do not necessarily reflect how satisfied someone feels about it. For example, having a cup of coffee late in the afternoon does not necessarily lower sleep satisfaction, although it may delay actual sleep from occurring.
A Positive Measure
Rather than being evaluated by the absence of negative emotions, sleep satisfaction is measured by the presence of positive ones. It may be helpful to compare sleep satisfaction to dining satisfaction: If you enjoy a gourmet meal cooked exactly to your tastes, it’s highly satisfying. On the other hand, a meal that’s cooked correctly but disagrees with your personal tastes would be less satisfying, even though there is nothing technically wrong with it.
Why It Matters
Sleep satisfaction can be used to observe and record feelings about sleep in individuals who may not suffer from sleep disorders but still would benefit from better sleep. It can also be used as a measurement with populations that traditionally have trouble sleeping, such as older adults (of whom 19 percent report being “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their sleep) or post-partum mothers. Finally, sleep satisfaction can paint a larger picture of overall health and wellness, helping doctors get a better sense of their patients’ lives.