Falling asleep too quickly or too slowly can both be symptoms of underlying problems, according to sleep specialists. While there is no set “normal” amount of time it “should” take to fall asleep, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that it should take about 15 to 20 minutes for a healthy person. Falling asleep too quickly can be a sign of exhaustion, burnout, and generally a sign that we’re not spending enough time recovering and resting. In contrast, difficulty with falling asleep may be a symptom of insomnia, chronic pain or a psychological or medical condition, such as anxiety, depression, or sleep apnea. One technique that may be useful for people struggling with anxiety is scheduled “worry time.” Additionally, having an inconsistent bedtime, poor sleep habits, working non-traditional shifts, undiagnosed or unmanaged health conditions, drinking too much caffeine or drinking it after 2 p.m., looking at screens an hour before bed, napping during the day, decongestants, and eating or exercising a lot right before bedtime can all contribute to taking too long to fall asleep. To help fall asleep within a half-hour, it is recommended to spend the half-hour before bed winding ourselves down while we’re awake and do a kind of night bedtime routine. At-home wellness practices, such as breathwork, meditation, yoga, exercise, and creating a soothing environment, can also be helpful. If someone is experiencing sleep latency issues, treatment might look like carving out more time to sleep, adjusting how much they exert themselves, and getting labs done at the doctor to cover all the bases.
Sleep onset time indicates health status