How Long Does It Typically Take to Fall Asleep?
The average human takes around 7 hours to fall asleep. However, some individuals may need up to 15 or even 20 hours before they are fully rested. There are many factors which affect how long it typically takes an individual to fall asleep: Age – Some people tend to sleep longer than others due their age. For example, children usually go through the night much faster than adults do. This is because children have less body fat and therefore burn more calories while sleeping. Therefore, they require less time to get fully comfortable before falling asleep.
Body Temperature – Body temperature plays a major role in how long it typically takes an individual to fall asleep. When the body’s core temperature drops too low, it makes it difficult for an individual to sleep properly. This is because when the brain senses a drop in body temperature, it begins to feel sleepy. People with higher body temperatures generally require less time to fall asleep.
Sleep Stage – Sleep stages are different for each stage of sleep. A person goes through all of these stages at different times during sleep depending on their age and other factors such as diet and stress levels. The length of time taken depends upon the duration of each stage. The first four stages of sleep take up more time than the last three, with stage 4 lasting the longest. Some people are able to wake up from REM sleep as opposed to NREM sleep.
Stages 1-3 are considered non-rapid eye movement sleep while stages 3 and 4 put together are considered rapid eye movement sleep.
Heart Rate – Most people experience a decrease in heart rate during sleep. This is why most of them have a difficult time waking up in the morning. However, those who have serious sleep issues are exceptions to this. Their heart rates stay elevated when they are trying to sleep and as a result, it makes them feel as if they’ve only slept for a few hours.
Stress – Many individuals experience a lot of stress on a daily basis. This is one of the main reasons why they have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep at night. This stress can come from work, school, or even family issues. How long it typically takes to fall asleep will also depend upon how stressed you feel at that moment.
Diet – The food you eat before bedtime can also affect how long it takes you to get to sleep. A large meal filled with saturated fats and carbohydrates can make you feel energized, even if you’re sleepy. Eating a large meal can cause blood sugar levels to spike, which in turn makes it difficult to fall asleep.
Nevertheless, there are a few people who can fall asleep within a couple of minutes of their head hitting the pillow. These people are generally known to have a slow-wave sleep pattern, in which their brain receives less stimulation while sleeping. If you’re part of this group, then it won’t take you very long to get to sleep.
So, How Long Does It Take You To Fall Asleep?
Take our quick Sleep Latency Test and find out!
Sources & references used in this article:
Aqueous extract of valerian reduces latency to fall asleep in man by PD Leathwood, F Chauffard – Planta medica, 1985 – thieme-connect.com
Childhood sleep disorders by R Ferber – Neurologic clinics, 1996 – Elsevier
Delayed sleep phase syndrome: a chronobiological disorder with sleep-onset insomnia by ED Weitzman, CA Czeisler, RM Coleman… – Archives of General …, 1981 – jamanetwork.com
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders by DR Wagner – Current treatment options in neurology, 1999 – Springer
Parasomnias: managing bizarre sleep-related behavior disorders by CH Schenck, MW Mahowald – Postgraduate medicine, 2000 – Taylor & Francis