Why Does Sleep Efficiency Matter?
Sleep efficiency refers to the percentage of time a person sleeps to the amount of time a person spends in bed. It is calculated by the ratio of the total time spent asleep (TST) in a night compared to the total amount of time spent in bed. An efficient sleep leads to a deeper sleep of better quality with lesser disturbances that may result in good stamina and sufficient rest upon waking, while an inefficient sleep may lead to uneasiness and fatigue.
Sleep Efficiency Rates
Sleep efficiency rates tend to vary from person to person. Normal sleep efficiency is considered to be 80% or greater. For example, if an individual spends 8 hours in bed, at least 6.3 hours or more should be spent sleeping to achieve 80% or greater sleep efficiency. Most healthy and young adults have sleep efficiencies above 90%.
How Does Genetics Influence Sleep Efficiency?
UFL1 Gene and Sleep Efficiency
UFL1 is one of the genes in the ubiquitin pathway - the principal mechanism behind protein breakdown.
This pathway has also been implicated in schizophrenia, a condition in which poor sleep efficiency is a common symptom.
The relevance of this pathway in sleep disturbances was further explored in another study.
The study indicated that the expression of a protein UFM1, a part of UFL1, increased after partial sleep restriction.
rs75842709 and Sleep Efficiency
A GWAS analysis found a significant correlation between a variant (rs75842709) near the UFL1 gene and sleep efﬁciency.
The T-allele was associated with a 5.7% decreased sleep efﬁciency.
Non-genetic Influences Of Sleep Efficiency
Some factors that lower sleep efficiency:
- Higher fatigue
- Less activity during the day
- Light at night
- Jet lag
- Sleep environment
Tips To Improve Sleep Efficiency
- Get some exercise during the day and get active.
- Try to do a calm and relaxing activity, like taking a shower or reading a book before you sleep.
- Avoid watching television or using your mobiles at least an hour before bedtime.
- Eliminate distractions before sleeping. Avoid using flashy, blinking lights, having the television on, and using your cell phone.
- Try to associate your bed with falling asleep and avoid doing other activities like reading or watching television on the bed before you fall asleep. Read at your table or any other convenient spot, and then fall asleep on your bed.
- If you’re awake in the middle of your sleep time for more than 15-20 mins, try to move around and do some relaxing activity to fall asleep again.
- Try to restrict your bedtime if most of it is spent laying awake. This can help meet your sleep needs but should be followed under the guidance of a doctor.
- Sleep efficiency refers to the percentage of time a person sleeps to the amount of time a person spends in bed. Efficiency rates tend to vary from person to person.
- The UFL1 gene involved in protein breakdown is implicated in schizophrenia, a condition in which poor sleep efficiency is a common symptom. The T allele of rs75842709 SNP is associated with a 5.7% decrease in sleep efficiency.
- Pain, sleep environment, jet lag, higher fatigue, less activity during the day are some of the non-genetic influences on sleep efficiency.
- Being active, doing calm and relaxing activities before sleeping, avoiding television and mobile usage before sleeping, and restricting bedtime to establish a proper sleep schedule can improve sleep efficiency.