How Long Does It Take to Fall Asleep?


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?

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 , 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

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

How fast do you fall asleep? Are you having any trouble
drifting into dreamland? Share your story; we may be able to help!

About the author

The Medical Extern

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