Falling asleep too quickly is a bad thing -- here's why

The INSIDER Summary:

• Falling asleep within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow is a bad sign.
• It’s one of the most common signs of sleep deprivation.
• It should take around 20 minutes for you to fall asleep every night.

Passing out as soon as your head hits the pillow is everyone’s ideal way of falling asleep.

But it’s actually not ideal at all.

Dr. Michael Breus, sleep specialist and author of “The Power of When,” says that falling asleep too quickly — within five minutes of your head hitting the pillow — is a common sign of sleep deprivation (i.e. not getting enough sleep).

Sleep shouldn’t be instantaneous.

Sleep is not an on, off switch,” he says. “It’s more like slowly pulling your foot off the gas and slowly putting your foot on the brake. There’s a process that has to occur.

How long is that process supposed to take?

Breus says it’s normal for it to take around 20 minutes to fall asleep.

So next time you find yourself staring up at the ceiling for a bit before knocking out, don’t worry, that just means you’ve been getting enough sleep.

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