How Long Does It Take to Fall Asleep? What’s Normal & What’s Totally Not, According to a Sleep Expert

By Alexia Dellner | Jan. 28, 2021

“Really short times to fall asleep (i.e., less than five minutes) often suggest significant sleepiness or sleep debt from insufficient sleep on prior nights,” Dr. Alex Dimitriu, MD from Menlo Park Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine tells us. Other signs that you’re sleep deprived include fatigue, irritability, mood changes, difficulty focusing, a weakened immune system and a reduced sex drive. If you’re lying in bed and struggling to fall asleep, when should you just give up and try something else? Dr. Dimitriu usually tells his patients to spend 20 minutes trying to fall asleep. “Clock watching is bad, as is getting stressed out about not sleeping in bed,” he explains. After about 20 minutes of not being able to fall asleep, you should get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading in a dimly lit room. When you feel sleepy, get back into bed and try it again.

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