Having trouble falling asleep at night? You’re not alone. Whether you spend hours every night counting the sheep as they’re taking you to the dreamland, or fall into slumber the moment your head hits the pillow, it’s totally normal to question whether you’re healthy or not. About 75% of people are worrying about the same thing. That concern raises an important question; how long should it take to fall asleep?
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How Long Does It Take to Fall Asleep?
The amount of time that separates you hitting the sack and you falling asleep is called sleep latency. According to Sleep.org , a healthy adult should take 10 to 20 minutes to slip into the land of Nod. That’s the sweet spot that allows an average individual to drift from full alertness into the first stages of sleep. If that’s how long it takes you ta fall into slumber, then congratulations, you have healthy sleep habits and hygiene. Keep up what you’re doing.
What if it Takes You Longer to Sleep?
You can’t just panic if it takes you 21 minutes to fall asleep, but there’s definitely something wrong if the drifting process takes more than one hour. You may be suffering from sleep-onset insomnia, which is one of the most common sleep disorders. Sleep-onset insomnia is characterized by a difficulty falling asleep at least three times a week for three months.
Sleep-onset insomnia can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, but for most people, it’s the stress and overthinking that’s keeping them up at night. Insomnia can also be a side effect of certain medications.
If you’re suffering from any of that, you need to talk to your doctor to replace your current medication, take care of your anxiety or depression, or determine the real cause behind insomnia.
This difficulty of falling asleep can also be caused by bad sleeping habits or sleep hygiene. Are you consuming caffeine late at night? Using your phone right before hitting the bed? Eating big dinners every night? Exercising at night?
Any of that seems familiar?
If your answer is affirmative, you certainly need to adjust your sleeping habits before starting to worry if you’re suffering from a medical disease.
Start by setting up a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve any of the aforementioned activities. You need to find some relaxing activities that’ll help you calm down 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed. These activities may include taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading — anything that relaxes the nervous system.
What If You Fall Asleep Too Fast?
We all have that one friend that falls asleep the moment their head hits the pillow. If you are that friend, maybe you should look into your condition, as it may be a sign that something is wrong. You’re probably not getting all the rest you need at night, which is known as sleep deprivation.
Getting less than 7 hours of sleep every night can result in a chronic state of sleep deprivation, a condition that slows down your reaction time, impairs your focus, makes you more prone to diseases, and ultimately leads to instant falling into slumber as your brain and body get too exhausted at the end of the day.
If you can relate to all of that, you need to rethink your schedule and set one that allows you to get enough sleep at night. Make sure to write it down, as that will make you more committed to following it, even on weekends. For that, you can either use the good ol’ pen and paper or a sleep diary app.
If you do all of that and you’re still suffering from sleep issues, make sure to get in touch with your healthcare practitioner to determine whether you’re suffering from a sleep disorder.
How to Make Sure You Measure It Correctly?
Let’s face it; you have no idea how long it takes for you to fall asleep. You may think that you’re spending hours staring at the ceiling or counting sheep or that you, on the contrary, fall asleep the moment your head hits the pillow, but the truth is, you have no clue how long you take. Scientists call that phenomena “sleep state misperception.”, but it’s really just us being bad judges when it comes to how long we’re staying awake before drifting to dreamland.
So, how to determine how long you take to fall asleep?
Your best bet here is to use a sleep tracker, which is either an app or a wearable device that tracks your muscle movement to determine which stage you’re in and therefore whether you’re fully awake or sleeping.
How fast do you fall asleep? Are you having any trouble drifting into dreamland? Share your story; we may be able to help!