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5 Everyday Things Keeping You From Good Sleep

Sleep Quality

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/02/11 04:40 PM ET Updated: 11/03/11 10:22 AM ET

How did you feel when you woke up this morning?

If your answer is anything other than "refreshed," maybe you should take a closer look at your sleep quality, said Michael Decker, Ph.D., an associate professor at Georgia State University and spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

"We should feel good when we wake up, not tired and exhausted," Decker told HuffPost. "That may indicate that something is happening during sleep that we're not aware of."

Sometimes it's not just an issue of not getting enough sleep -- it's a matter of getting good quality sleep, Decker said. Poor sleep quality has been linked in studies to increased inflammation (which can lead to heart disease and stroke), high blood pressure, and increased blood glucose levels and insulin resistance among people with Type 2 diabetes. Getting good, quality sleep -- on the other hand -- is linked with a longer life, PsychCentral reported.

Sleep quality "is important -- it's not not just the duration of sleep, but the quality that determines health outcomes," he said. "We feel better when we sleep for the right amount of time. That's the foundation of where to start."

Take a look at some everyday factors that could be impacting how well you sleep.

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Loneliness isn't just an issue of the heart and mind -- it's also an issue of sleep, a new study shows.

The small study of 95 adults in South Dakota shows that people who perceived themselves as lonely had more fragmented sleep (which affects sleep quality, but not total sleep amount) than people who didn't think they were lonely. The findings mirror a 2002 study that showed that college students who felt lonely also had more fragmented sleep.

"Whether you're a young student at a major university or an older adult living in a rural community, we may all be dependent on feeling secure in our social environment in order to sleep soundly," study researcher Lianne Kurina, Ph.D., said in a statement. "The results from these studies could further our understanding of how social and psychological factors 'get under the skin' and affect health."