Sleep on a comfortable online mattress to reduce sleep latency

What is Sleep Latency and How Does It Affect Your Sleep Quality?


See My Favorite Products of 2021!
Select a list >MattressesToppers & PadsCooling/HeatingPillowsSheets
Touch a tab above to reveal my top picks for that category.
Of the 60+ beds I've reviewed, these are my current favorites:
My Top PickType of MattressPrice
1. Saatva ClassicInnerspring$799 - $1,599
Save $200!
2. Puffy LUX
Luxury Foam$1,145 – $1,695
Save $300!
3. Leesa Original
Budget Foam$594-$1019
"Up to $180 off mattresses
+ FREE SHIPPING"
4. Nest Alexander HybridLuxury Hybrid$949-$1,699
Save 20% USE CODE: PREzzzDAY!
5. PlushBeds Botanical BlissLuxury Organic Latex$1049 – $2,048save $1,200 off Bedroom Mattresses + Free Luxury Sheet Set.
6. EcoterraBudget Latex$749 - $1,249
$150 off mattresses with code SALE150
7. DreamcloudLuxury PillowTop$599-$1,099
Free Sheets, Protector and Pillows
8. LaylaFlippable/2-Sided$499 - $999
Save $200!
9. Big FigFor Plus-Sized People$1,299 - $1,999
Save $200 with code: BEYOU
10. HelixCustom-Fit$500 - $1,149
Save $200!
Mattress toppers & pads are a great way to cool your bed and extend its life.
Topper SizeMaterialFirmnessWarr.
LINENSPA
LINENSPA 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Twin
Best Value2"Gel memory foamMedium3 years
MOLECULE AIRTEC
MOLECULE AIRTEC
Best Comfort3"Memory foamMedium-firm5 years
MyPillow
MyPillow Three-inch Mattress Bed Topper (Twin)
Best pressure point relief3"FoamMedium-firm10 years
LUCID
LUCID 2-Inch Ventilated Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper - Full
Best cooling2"Gel memory foamSoft3 years
Milemont
Milemont Mattress Topper Twin, 2-Inch Cool Swirl Gel Mattress Topper for Twin Size Bed, Blue
Best for back pain2"Gel memory foamMedium10 years
Pure Green
Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm - 2 Inch - Queen Size
Best for stomach sleepers2"Natural latexExtra-firm5 years
Sleep Innovations
Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Enhanced Support, King, Made in the US Mattress Topper
Best for side sleepers4"Gel memory foamSoft10 years
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Best temperature regulation-Forced Air-1 year
TEMPUR ProForm
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme 3-Inch Mattress Topper Medium Firm, Full, White
Best memory foam3"Memory foamMedium-firm10 years
Avocado Green
Avocado Green
Best organic2"Organic latexSoft/firm10 years
Bed cooling/heating systems have come a long way – especially the BedJet, my favorite.
SystemTypeBest For...Temp. RangeControl
BedJet V3
BedJet V3
Air cooledBEST OVERALL (esp. for night sweats)66°F-104°FWireless remote control/smartphone app
ChiliPad Cube 3.0
Chili Technology chiliPAD Cube 3.0 - ME and WE Zones - Cooling and Heating Mattress Pad - Individual Temperature Control, Great Sleep Enhancement, Wireless Remote Integration (Queen (80" L x 60" W))
Water cooledBest water cooling system55°F-115°FWireless remote control
Ooler Sleep System
Ooler Sleep System
Water cooledBest temperature control55°F-115°FSmartphone app via Bluetooth
The Pod by Eight Sleep
The Pod by Eight Sleep
Water cooledBest smart cooling system55°F-115°FSmartphone app/smart voice assistant
Mattress Cooler "Classic"
2020 Mattress Cooler "Classic" Chilled Water Sleep Cooling System (Now with a Spare "27x63" Cooling Pad)
Water cooledBest budget cooling systemN/AWireless remote control
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
Air cooledN/ARemote control
bFan Cooling System
bFan Cooling System
FanBest bed fanN/AWired remote control
Brookstone bed fan
Brookstone Bed Fan with Wireless Remote
FanN/AWireless remote control
These pillows excel at relieving neck and shoulder pain:
PillowWhy I Like It
PlushBeds Shredded Natural Latex Pillow
Best Cooling Mattress Pads

best shredded latex pillow for side sleepers
Coop Home Goods Memory Foam
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen
perennial, proven Amazon Choice with over 16,000 reviews
MARNUR Contour Pillow
MARNUR Cervical Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Contour Pillows for Neck Pain Ergonomic Pillow with RoHS Certification and Pillowcase Covers, White(23.5×14.5×5.5 Inch)
perfect spine support using a groove down the middle
SleepRightSplintek Side
SleepRight Splintek Side Sleeping Pillow Memory Foam Pillow – Best Pillow for Sleeping On Your Side – 24" x 5" Standard Size
full facial cradle plus a perfectly-angled shoulder cradle
Xtreme Comforts Adjustable Pillow
Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic, Adjustable Thickness, Kool-Flow Micro Vented Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Bed Pillow for Sleeping, Back, Stomach & Side Sleepers, Queen Size, Made in USA
thinner and softer than most, so your head will not bend back
UTTU Sandwich Pillow
UTTU Sandwich Pillow, Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, Bamboo Pillow for Sleeping, Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain, Neck Support for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers, Orthopedic Contour Pillow, CertiPUR-US
designed specifically for neck support and alignment.
Mediflow Water Pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve Sleep. Therapeutic, Ideal for People Looking for Proper Neck Support
clinical tests prove it reduces neck pain
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow - Orthopedic Contour Memory Foam Pillow for Back and Side Sleepers with Neck and Spine Support - Helps Reduce Back and Neck Pain
best overall design with lots of position choices
KaUa Neck Roll
K Ka Ua Neck Roll Pillow Cervical Bolster with Bamboo Cover – Memory Foam Spine Lumbar Traction Spondylosis Support 4” Diameter x 17 “Length (4 Inch)
1,000s of satisfied customers & rave reviews
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
J-Pillow Chin Supporting Travel Pillow - 2020 Version - British Invention of The Year Winner - Supports Your Head, Neck & Chin (Blue)
added chin support prevents your head from falling forward.
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows, Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain - for Side Sleepers, Back and Stomach Sleepers, Free Pillowcase Included ( Firm & Queen)
Designed to support and cushion you neck and shoulders
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
AVOCADO GREEN PILLOW-Loveable non-toxic pillow has an adjustable fill, made from GOLS organic certified latex and GOTS organic certified kapok.
An all-natural, organic and vegan pillow with an adjustable loft to suit all sleeping positions
These are my favorite luxury sheet sets sold online:
Best Luxury SheetsIncludesSizesColours
Parachute
Parachute
Fitted sheet + two pillowcasesTwin to Cal KingSand, Slate, White, Light Grey, Blue
Brooklinen
Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set – Includes 1 Flat Sheet, 1 Fitted Sheet + 2 Pillowcases – 480 Thread Count Sateen Sheet Set – 100 Percent Long-Staple Cotton – Oeko-TEX Certified – Smoke – Twin
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Cream, Steel, Smoke, Smoke Stripe
Saatva
Saatva
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Ivory, Grey
Boll and Branch
Boll & Branch Luxury Fair Trade Long Staple Organic Cotton Sheet Set - Full, Natural
one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and two pillowcases.Full, Queen, King, Cal King onlyWhite, Solid Natural, Striped White, Pewter
Best For Specific Needs Soft and Warm: Parachute’s Sateen sheets Most Luxurious: Brooklinen’s Linen sheets Organic Luxury Sheets:  Saatva Lofton Organic sheets Breathable/Cool: Percale sheets from Parachute or Brooklinen
NOTE: We earn from qualifying purchases made via Amazon Associates and other affiliate programs. Learn more.

In my last blog post, I talked about sleep efficiency, which is a measure of sleep quality. Today I'll explain another closely related sleep metric called sleep latency which is also an important indication of your overall sleep quality.

How long does it take you to fall asleep when your head hits the pillow? 1 minute, 5 minutes, 30 minutes?

Some lucky sleepers can fall asleep in as few as 10 minutes while some of us can take up to half an hour before sleeping.

The amount of time you take to fall asleep is called sleep latency.

The term has its origins from scientific sleep studies. Sleep specialists have been using it for years to diagnose various sleep disorders like insomnia and narcolepsy.

Sleep latency is strongly related to sleep efficiency and sleep debt.

Low sleep latency means you fall asleep very quickly when you get into bed. High sleep latency means you tend to count sheep for quite a while before you manage to snooze off.

Ideally, your sleep latency should neither be too low nor too high. Anywhere between 15-20 minutes is considered normal sleep latency.

Sleep Latency and Sleep Debt

Your sleep efficiency score is directly linked to your sleep quality
Your body keeps track of how long you sleep and accumulates a debt of sleep owed on those nights you don't sleep well.

Low sleep latency is usually not a good thing. Being able to fall asleep in less than 2 minutes is nothing to boast about. It's usually a sign of sleep debt which is caused by sleep deprivation.

Sleep debt happens when you don’t get enough sleep and the body tries to compensate for that lost time during later sleep sessions.

Essentially, your body keeps track of how much sleep it is owed. That’s why you might find that you sleep longer on a specific night if you didn’t sleep well the previous night.

You’ll also fall asleep faster. That is, you’ll have low sleep latency.

Sleep latency of less than 15 minutes is an indication of mild sleep debt. Sleep latency of less than 10 minutes is considered to be a sign of significant sleep debt and sleep latency of less than 5 minutes means you have severe sleep debt and sleep deprivation.

The other extreme is also not good. If you take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, you might have insomnia or some other sleep disorder.

Sleep Latency and Sleep Efficiency

Another metric measured by sleep specialists is sleep efficiency, which I explained in my previous blog post. It is the percentage of time you spend asleep while lying in bed.

High sleep efficiency (85% and up) means you are getting quality sleep.

Sleep latency directly impacts sleep efficiency.

If you have excessively high sleep latency (you take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep), your sleep efficiency score will drop. This will affect your overall sleep quality.

How to Measure Your Sleep Latency at Home

It’s fairly difficult to measure your own sleep latency at home. This is because most of us never realize the exact moment when we sleep.

One interesting technique proposed by famous sleep researcher, Nathaniel Kleitman, involves a spoon and plate.

Hold a spoon over the edge of the bed and position an empty plate over it. Check the time before you sleep.

As soon as you sleep, the spoon will hit the plate, thus waking you up. Check the time again. The number of minutes that has passed is your sleep latency.

You are supposed to do this test during the day in a dark quiet room. Do it 3-5 times (with a 2hr break in between) to get your average sleep latency.

Use this scientific score chart to rank your results.

0-5 minutes – severe sleep deprivation

5-10 minutes – troublesome sleep deprivation

10-15 minutes – mild but manageable sleep deprivation

15-20 minutes – little to no sleep deprivation/debt (target score)

Multi Sleep Latency Test

sleep specialist
A military doctor at a sleep lab conducts a sleep study.

If you want a more accurate measure of your sleep latency you’ll have to undertake a sleep study. Find a sleep clinic run by a certified sleep specialist.

The specialist will start with an overnight sleep study and then conduct a full multi sleep latency test over the course of the next day.

The test will involve 4-5 sleep sessions each running for 20 minutes with a 2hr break between each.

You’ll be hooked up to various sensors and then asked to lie down and relax in a dark quiet room. The sleep specialist will then measure how long it takes for you to fall asleep to get an average sleep latency score.

How to Achieve the Ideal Sleep Latency

  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night to prevent sleep debt. Check that your sleep environment is optimal and that you are sleeping on a comfortable mattress. If your mattress is worn out, check out our top reviews to find the most comfortable online mattress from brands like Leesa and Casper.
  • Don’t bring your gadgets to bed. They will lead to a high sleep latency because they will prevent you from falling asleep quickly.
  • Make sure you are relaxed when you come to bed. Stress can increase sleep latency beyond the ideal range. A warm bath, yoga and meditation are some relaxation techniques you can try adding to your sleep routine.
  • If you cannot sleep, get out of bed and find something else to do. The more you struggle to fall asleep the more difficult it will actually be to sleep. Come back to bed when you feel relaxed and ready to sleep.

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