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How Long Does It Take to Fall Asleep?

If it takes a bit of time for you to fall asleep, you’re not alone. On average, it usually takes between 10 - 20 minutes to fall asleep once you’ve gotten into bed – this is known as sleep latency.

It’s normal to lie awake in bed before drifting off, however, if you find it's taking you longer, or shorter, than 10 - 20 minutes to fall asleep, this may be your body's way of communicating an underlying issue. 

 

How Long Does It Normally Take to Fall Asleep?

 

person-lying-awake-in-bed

 

Getting the right amount of sleep each night is a vital part to leading a healthy lifestyle. For the average adult, it’s recommended that you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. However, the amount of sleep required can vary depending on certain health conditions and also age – children, babies and toddlers needing more sleep than adults on a daily basis.

 

Why Does It Take Me a While to Fall Asleep? 

 

dog-can't-sleep-in-bed

 

Whilst it’s normal to have difficulty sleeping once in a while, if it usually takes you longer than 10 - 20 minutes to fall asleep, as previously mentioned, this may be due to an underlying issue.

If you struggle getting to sleep, it may help to consider whether you can improve bedtime routine, or if you’re going to bed too early in the first place.

Another potential issue that could be making it difficult to drift off is that you’re getting too much sleep. Whilst oversleeping may appear to be nothing more than a luxury, it can sometimes be suggestive of deeper issues, such as difficulties with your mental health, or a generally poor quality of sleep.

Excessive sleeping or sleepiness is known as hypersomnia, and is a problem that should be properly addressed to help safeguard your health and overall wellbeing.

You might also be struggling to fall asleep due to another type of sleep condition, otherwise known as insomnia. There are a number of different causes for insomnia, including the following:

 

  • Issues with your mental health – e.g. stress and anxiety preventing you from relaxing and subsequently drifting off to sleep.

 

  • Environmental factors – e.g. distracting noises, too much light, an uncomfortable room temperature.

 

  • Taking certain substances – if you take caffeine, alcohol or nicotine before bed, this can have a detrimental impact on your sleep.

 

  • Uncomfortable environment – if your bed or bedding is uncomfortable, you might find it difficult to drift off.

 

There’s a range of different reasons why you might struggle to fall asleep at night. If this is a regular issue, it’s important to get help to minimise its damaging impacts.

 

Why Do I Fall Asleep Too Fast?

 

woman-tired-lying-in-bed

 

Whilst you might not think it, falling asleep too fast could also be a sign of underlying sleep issues, including sleep deprivation.

As previously mentioned, you need a certain amount of sleep each night to help maintain your health and wellbeing. If you don’t get the sleep you need you could end up with what’s known as sleep debt. Sleep debt can lead to moodiness throughout the day, as well as feeling tired, fuzzy, stressed, and can even have an impact on your immune system. 

It’s important to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night, helping to improve how you function throughout the day, and support your overall health.

 

How to Improve Sleeping Habits

 

 

Whilst it’s important to have your sleeping issues addressed by a healthcare professional, there are a few things you can do from home that may help you to better your sleeping habits, thereby improving your sleep overall. These include:

 

  • Avoiding certain substances – cutting out alcohol, caffeine and nicotine just before bed can reduce their impact on your sleep quality.

 

  • Eliminate distractions – by shutting out any disruptive light or noise, as well as placing all electronics on silent, can help to create a more relaxing, sleep-inducing environment.

 

  • Establishing a bedtime – having a set bedtime routine and sticking to it can help to optimise your night’s rest.

 

  • Make your bed comfortable - you can invest in certain products that help to promote sleep, including supportive mattresses, memory foam pillows and weighted blankets

 

In conclusion, whilst it’s normal to take some time to fall asleep at night, if you’re finding that you fall asleep too quickly, or not quickly enough, it could be indicative of a larger health issue, and should be addressed in order to reduce any potentially damaging effects.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/how-long-does-it-take-to-fall-asleep#tips-for-sleep

https://www.sleep.org/articles/how-long-to-fall-asleep/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/insomnia/ 

https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/07/16/yes-you-can-sleep-too-much-heres-why-oversleeping-is-a-problem/?cn-reloaded=1

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