‘Junk sleep’: How to avoid it and improve the quality of your sleep

Ever wake up after eight hours of sleep and feel exhausted, like you barely slept? It's called "junk sleep." 

Sleep expert, licensed psychologist and author of "The Women's Guide to Overcoming Insomnia", Dr. Shelby Harris, joined Good Day New York to discuss how to avoid "junk sleep" and improve the quality of your sleep.

What is "Junk Sleep"?

"Junk sleep" is really just a catchy saying that means how is the quality of your sleep. The phrase has since been popularized in a recent advertising campaign for a mattress company. Experts say it's sleep that's just not high-quality enough to nourish your brain and body.

What can we do to get a more restful night’s sleep?

  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep on a routine basis and on a consistent bed/wake schedule. It helps to ensure you’re hitting all the stages of sleep from deep to light to REM that are important for good quality sleep overall.
  • Try to eliminate obvious things that worsen sleep quality and quantity. Alcohol, liquids, heavy meals and vigorous exercise all within three hours of bed are problematic. Also, some medications can worsen the quality of your sleep, causing multiple awakenings.
  • Power down before bed without screens and get whatever is in your brain out of your brain. Aim for 30-60 minutes of wind-down time. If you can’t find that, start with 10 minutes and work your way toward more.
  • Make sure your room is conducive to a good night’s sleep. Dark, cool, quiet and comfortable are all important to help enhance a good night’s sleep.
  • Make sure you don’t have another condition that’s impacting your sleep quality and quantity. Sleep apnea is super-common, and it can worsen the quality of whatever sleep you have. So, if the above suggestions don’t work, talk with a sleep specialist, as there’s lots of effective treatments out there (with and without medication) to enhance sleep quality and quantity.

Experts also say a TikTok trend about "mouth taping" while you sleep can be dangerous.