Why falling asleep quickly isn’t always a good thing

In this week’s sleep diaries, a 21-year-old freelance journalist and waitress finds that her habit of crashing at bedtime isn’t ideal.

A bit about me:

Age: 21

Job: Waitress and freelance journalist

Number of hours of sleep you get each night: 6.5-7.5 hours

Number of hours of sleep you want each night: 8 hours

Measure your sleep in some way (using a phone or wearable): Yes sir

How much water do you drink on average per week: 2 liters

How much sport do you do on average per week: Average of 250 active minutes per week

day 1

I have dinner around 7:30 p.m., then I sit down and watch TV while drinking Pepsi and bottled water. I do a bit of browsing the internet for new winter clothes and then I make lunch for work the next day and pack my bag for the morning.

At 9:15 p.m. I sit down with some pudding and scroll on my phone before going to my bedroom at 10:00 p.m. to start my nightly routine. This consists of brushing your teeth, washing your face, cleaning and moistening, and mouthwash. At 10:45 am, I was scrolling social media a bit more and texting my family and boyfriend saying goodnight and I turn off the lights.

It doesn’t take long to fall asleep, but my night is interrupted by a few nightmares that wake me up. I go to the bathroom and then roll back into bed, but I feel like I’m having a pretty restless night, almost like knowing how many hours count down before my alarm goes off at 6:25 a.m. I don’t feel overly refreshed, but I do feel ready for the day.

Alarm clock on a bedside table
“I have the feeling that I sleep rather restlessly at night, almost as if I know how to count down the hours before my alarm clock goes off at 6:25 am.”

day 2

I’m finishing a huge roast meal that was absolutely awesome – my stomach feels full and incredibly happy. I take my evening daily vitamins of calcium and vitamin D tablets, as well as hair, skin and nail rubbers, before cleaning up after dinner.

I then get my lunch ready for work in the morning: tomorrow at noon there will be leftover roast pork in a salad with sriracha dressing! I had two glasses of Pepsi for dinner and a glass of pumpkin while I was preparing my lunch.

At 9 p.m. I sit down with a mug of hot chocolate and some pudding made from a plum, a Fiber One brownie, a bourbon biscuit, and a couple of gummy candies. I eat this while watching Netflix on the sofa.

At 10 p.m. I go upstairs to do my normal nighttime routine before turning off my lights at 10:30 p.m. I fall asleep very quickly and only wake up once at night around 3 a.m. This is completely normal and I sleep well until my alarm goes off at 5:25 a.m. I wake up feeling good!

Day 3

I’ll be home from my dance class at 7.30 p.m. and have a katsu curry for dinner. After dinner I have a glass of lemonade and then take a shower and wash my hair. Then I get lunch ready for work in the morning and sit down to watch Netflix and have my pudding at 9:20 p.m.

At 9:50 p.m. I feel my eyelids start to droop and I go up to get ready for bed. I’ve had a very busy day and I definitely feel ready to sleep. I’m in bed at 10:20 p.m. and can’t wait to fall asleep – a little stressed and a little exhausted after such a busy day.

I sleep a total of about 6.5 hours and wake up feeling good, even though my sleep is a little restless.

Woman watching TV with remote control
“Then I’ll get lunch ready for work in the morning and settle in to watch Netflix.”

Day 4

I was having a busy day at work and was taking a bath when I got home before dinner.

After dinner, I sit on the sofa with a hot chocolate to watch The great British beacon. I can feel my eyelids droop between commercial breaks, so I grab some pudding afterward and then head out to get ready for bed.

I do a shortened version of my skin care routine and then go to bed before 10:20 am, even though my mind is very busy and stressed. I wake up a few times during the night but have to sleep in until 10:15 the next morning.

Day 5

After a virtual open day for a postgraduate course that I researched, I cook dinner with my mom – sweet chili and lime salmon with couscous and vegetables. After dinner, I’ll have a hot chocolate while completing more of the puzzle I’ve been working on and chat with some friends on social media.

I stop at 9:30 p.m. to have pudding and watch Netflix with my mom on the sofa before going to bed at 10:00 p.m. and doing my full skin care routine.

I go to bed at 10:30 p.m. and make my to-do list for tomorrow to make sure I’m productive when I wake up before I turn off the lights.

I have a very interrupted night with some very vivid dreams and a lot of back and forth because I was too hot. I wake up at 9 a.m. surprisingly not feeling too tired and start my day after a large bowl of porridge.

So what does it all mean? A sleep expert offers her thoughts

Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan, sleep expert and professional physiologist, says: “Most evenings you feel exhausted and after you’ve eaten your pudding – no judgment but I don’t think it will help your quality of sleep – you crash and fall asleep very quickly. Sometimes you have nightmares and wake up not feeling rested at all.

“Scrolling less on your phone, skipping Pepsi and lemonade, and maybe eating your pudding early could give you a more restful sleep and might even stop the nightmares.”

Sleep expert from Dr.  Nerina Ramlakhan stylist
Sleep expert Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan

Dr. Nerina continues: “Even being so tired in the evening is not ideal. It is better to go to bed comfortably relaxed and then it should take about 10 to 20 minutes to actually fall asleep – this is called sleep latency.

“Falling asleep too quickly could be an indicator that you are tired and need to” clean up “your lifestyle so that your sleep quality is better and you wake up with good energy.”

If you want to join stylist‘s Sleep Diaries please email us at [email protected] with the subject’ SLEEP DIARIES ‘. We are happy to hear from them.

Mission statement design: Ami O’Callaghan

Pictures: Getty

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