Toss and turn long enough and eventually the process of falling asleep starts to feel a lot like the five stages of grief. There’s denial (“I’ll be fine on five hours’ sleep”), anger (“Why can I not just fall asleep already?”), bargaining (“Okay, if I fall asleep in the next five minutes, I’ll get at least four hours”), depression (“Tomorrow is going to be the worst”), and acceptance (“Bring on the coffee”) — all in the service of mourning the bright-eyed, well-rested you that could have been.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, it should take somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes to doze off, a period of time known as “sleep latency.” Plenty of things can stretch out that latency period — stress, a medical condition, even napping too much during the day — but often, it’s just a sign that you’re going about this bedtime thing all wrong. Here are a few simple sleep hacks to help you minimize the time between climbing into bed and dozing off to sleep.
Put down your phone.
This one’s a doozy: Around 95 percent of Americans admit to using a phone right before bed, even though a growing body of evidence shows that screen time can seriously mess with your circadian rhythms. Digital devices give off blue light, which has been shown to suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. To avoid screen-induced insomnia, then, set yourself some limits: Figure out when you want to get in bed, and turn off your phone — and your Kindle, and your laptop, and your TV — an hour before.