Sleep Latency: the time it takes a person to fall asleep after turning the lights out.
Sleep latency is crucial because it helps indicate whether you are getting sufficient quality sleep. People do not always feel tired or recognize how sleep deprivation affects them. Objective sleep measures like sleep latency can provide a more accurate picture of how well a person meets their sleep needs.
Whereas a sleep latency of less than eight minutes could indicate a sleep disorder like narcolepsy, people who take more than 20 minutes to fall asleep could have insomnia. I track my sleep latency with my OURA ring. If you need more information on the ring, check out my blog: “Oura Ring VS Apple Watch Review.”
As soon as I started posting about sleep latency to my Instagram, I had an onslaught of messages about improving it- so let’s dive into a few habits you could change or implement to improve sleep latency and fall asleep faster!
Sleep Latency Tips / Tricks
- Magnesium Drops
- Magnesium Lotion
- The number one deficiency in our country is magnesium. Increasing your magnesium consumption will lead to better sleep latency, reduction in wakings, less trouble staying asleep, and better sleep quality. This product is safe for kids and adults!
- Vitamin D Drops
- Vitamin D Cream
- Vitamin D receptors and the enzymes that control their activation and degradation are expressed in several areas of the brain involved in sleep regulation. Vitamin D is also involved in the production pathways of Melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating human circadian rhythms and sleep. Vitamin D supplementation (VDS) positively affects sleep disorders, including decreased sleep latency, improved sleep efficiency, and longer sleep duration (study).
- Same Bed Time and Wind Down Routine
- One of the best features of OURA is the daily bedtime suggestion feature on the homepage. I live by this recommendation, and it’s always around the same time each night. I am too competitive, even with myself, to not fall into that bedtime window. A consistent bedtime will help establish better sleep cycles.
- No Blue Light in Bed
- This is the biggest struggle for a lot of people, myself included. But I noticed a HUGE difference in my sleep latency and quality when I finally stopped looking at my phone in bed. As soon as I lay down, it’s bedtime. I don’t watch TV or look at my phone. Blue light can slow or stop your body’s release of Melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
- Hormone regulation is critical when it comes to overall sleep quality. My in-depth blog can be found here.
- Of the micronutrients, amino acids are known to play an important role. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that has been associated with increased subjective sleepiness, reduced latency to sleep onset, and fewer night-time awakenings (Silber & Schmitt, 2010; Sutanto et al., 2022)
- If I struggle to fall asleep, saying my prayers usually drifts me off into a nice slumber. This could look like meditation for others, but speaking to some higher power can help at night.
- This is a given, but the more exercise and movement you can get into your day, the more your body will require sleep and recovery. Kredlow et al., in their meta-analysis, reported that regular physical exercise had slight positive impacts on total sleep time and efficiency, modest positive effects on sleep onset latency, and significant effects on sleep quality improvement.
- Magnesium Bath
- You can combine this with your dietary magnesium, but 1 cup in a warm bath will help relax your muscles and fall asleep faster.
- SLEEP Supplement
- If you still struggle to experience high sleep quality, I suggest checking out our SLEEP supplement (in-depth breakdown here).