(This article is the first in a series on sleep hacks, to come out over the next few weeks).
It’s 11:30pm. You’re awake and you have to be up in six and a half hours for a killer day ahead, but instead, you’re staring at the ceiling. Your brain starts to loop, “Wow, I’m not going to sleep and tomorrow is going to be a disaster.” Now, you’re not just awake, but you’re awake and freaking out. So, the next night, you go to bed an hour earlier. Except you don’t fall asleep any sooner—you just have an extra hour to stay awake, annoyed, frustrated and anxious.
You’re not alone. Even though sleep specialists consider 10 to 20 minutes to be the “healthy” length of time it takes to fall asleep (called “sleep latency”), the American Academy of Sleep Medicine notes that 35% of Americans have occasional symptoms of insomnia, with 10% having chronic insomnia. Women are even more likely to have trouble getting shut-eye—especially women with children.