How Sleep Satisfaction Is Different Than Sleep Quality

The terms are similar, but the two measures are not the same. Find out what these sleep terms really means.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Your doctor may have asked you about the quality of your sleep, but there’s another term to consider: Sleep satisfaction. Unlike sleep quality—which often looks at aspects of sleep that can be objectively measured, such as how many times you wake up throughout the night or how long it takes to fall asleep—sleep satisfaction is a subjective evaluation. Learn the ways sleep quality and sleep satisfaction are unique.

A Flexible View of Sleep
Sleep satisfaction is based on the premise that even when individuals undergo the same experience, each person will evaluate it differently. People who lie awake for some time before falling asleep, for example, may still be satisfied with their shut-eye if they sleep soundly through the night once they do drift off. On the other hand, someone can get the recommended numbers of hours each night, and still wake up feeling less than satisfied with the sleep experience.

Focus on the Positive
Sleep satisfaction focuses on the positive. When addressing sleep satisfaction, a physician may ask questions such as: Do you feel good during the day? Do you feel good about how much you sleep?

An Independent Measure
Sleep satisfaction does not always correlate with underlying sleep issues or concerns. Someone who has been diagnosed with restless leg syndrome, for example, may be very satisfied with sleep. On the flip side, someone who gets plenty of shut-eye but is anxious or depressed may report being dissatisfied with sleep.

While sleep satisfaction is a subjective and may be independent of sleep quality and quantity, when used in conjunction with other tests and assessments it can provide a fuller picture of your overall sleep health. If you feel are not satisfied with your sleep, talk with your doctor about possible solutions.