If you have difficulty falling asleep, you may not get enough sleep, lack of sleep, fatigue, leading to sleep disorders.
Sleep latency refers to the time it takes for the average person to fall asleep. Everyone has a different standard time to fall asleep. On average, a healthy person takes about 10-20 minutes to fall asleep. If the time it takes to fall asleep is short (less than 8 minutes), this may mean insomnia or poor sleep due to an underlying sleep disorder.
A person can experience various sleep latency, depending on how sleepy they are at certain times. If you try to sleep earlier than usual, the sleep delay will be prolonged because the body is not tired yet. Conversely, people who stay up late will have a short sleep delay.
Sleep latency plays an important role in providing information about whether the average person is getting enough sleep or not. In fact, many people feel tired, but do not realize how lack of sleep affects the body. Therefore, measuring sleep latency is an objective measure that provides a result of how well a person’s sleep needs are met.
According to the American Center for Medical Sleep Medicine (AASM), sleep latency is a metric used with other criteria when assessing a person’s likelihood of a sleep disorder. Other factors can also influence such as alcohol, chronic pain can interfere with a person’s ability to sleep. Medications also affect sleep latency, decreasing or increasing the time it takes to fall asleep depending on the drug’s effects.
In addition, the “first night effect” (a phenomenon in which a person has trouble sleeping the first night in a new place), also prolongs sleep latency. Age and number of naps can also affect.
Experts say the time before falling asleep and the effectiveness of sleep are related. Sleep efficiency is a measure other than sleep latency that provides detailed information about a person’s sleep. A late bedtime will result in low sleep efficiency. However, sleep latency is not the only factor affecting sleep performance. A person’s sleep efficiency may be low due to staying up at night or waking up early.
Every night, the average person goes through four stages of sleep. Stages 1-3 are non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and the final stage is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM sleep accounts for most of a person’s deep sleep. While REM sleep tends to be related to dreaming, awake brain activity.
A full sleep cycle takes about 90-120 minutes to complete. Long sleep wait times can delay the moment a person enters the first stage of sleep. If there is little time in bed, the long time it takes to fall asleep may not be able to complete the sleep cycle, which does not guarantee rapid eye movement sleep. The body compensates for this effect by spending a higher amount of time in REM sleep.
Sleep latency also affects REM latency. This lag is measured by how long it takes a person to enter the first stage of sleep after turning off the lights. Therefore, the REM latency measure includes the sleep latency measure. For a person to take a long time to fall asleep, it will take a long time to reach the first stage of REM sleep. A shorter or longer REM delay than usual may be due to medication use, sleep deprivation, or sleep disturbances.
To measure a person’s sleep latency, specialists will perform multiple sleep latency tests, sustained alertness tests, and polysomnography to diagnose sleep disorders. Accordingly, the multiple sleep latency test was applied to people who were excessively sleepy during the day. This is part of the diagnostic process for narcolepsy and unexplained insomnia.
Healthy people had an average sleep latency of about 10 minutes when performing the tests. People with narcolepsy, who have a sleep latency of 8 minutes or less, can enter REM sleep. Cases of unexplained insomnia often have a sleep delay of less than 8 minutes, less likely to enter REM sleep.
If you often have insomnia, don’t sleep well, don’t get enough sleep… you can talk to your doctor to be examined and determine the cause. In the case of a sleep disorder, the doctor may prescribe medication or guide the patient to find a remedy.
(Follow Sleep Foundation, Very Well Health, WebMD)