Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is essential to every person’s mental and physical health, as well as their daily productivity. Sleep latency is one of the key elements in determining your overall sleep efficiency, but it can also serve as one of the chief indicators of a possible sleep disorder. Here we will discuss everything we think you should know about sleep latency, and when we think you should seek professional help.

Sleep Latency And Sleep Efficiency

Sleep latency, more accurately referred to as sleep onset latency, is the time it takes a person to fall asleep once they have turned the lights out, laid down, and closed their eyes. Sleep efficiency is the amount of time a person spends in bed asleep versus time spent in bed lying awake. While every person has different sleep habits and sleep requirements, sleep latency should remain within a reasonable amount of time for any person to be considered within a healthy range of sleep efficiency. For instance, if you spent 8 hours in bed, and spent 7.5 of the hours asleep, then you would most likely be considered sleep efficient, barring the absence of any other sleep abnormalities.

When To Get Tested

As mentioned earlier, people need a consistent amount of quality sleep in order to stay healthy, and sleep latency symptoms can serve as one of the first indicators that you may have a condition that is preventing you from achieving your body’s sleep requirements. Aside from the health issues that can arise from lack of sleep, prolonged sleep latency can have a negative impact on the sleep you do get once it occurs. If you lie awake at night, tossing and turning, saying to yourself, “I can’t sleep!” multiple times a night, your body will begin to feel stressed and increase cortisol production, which can cause a variety of problems and interrupt your much-needed REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. While there are a number of contributing factors and causes of sleep latency, if you begin to notice that it is a regular occurring issue, it may be time to sign up for a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MLSP).

Multiple Sleep Latency Test

A Multiple Sleep Latency Test is a form of a sleep study conducted to measure the amount of time it takes a person to fall asleep when prompted. The MSLT usually occurs during the day and involves taking five naps scheduled two hours apart. Patients are monitored to determine the amount of time they are awake, asleep, and in REM sleep. If patients fall asleep during the scheduled naptime, after 15 minutes of sleep they’ll be awakened. In addition to measuring sleep latency, MSLT tests are also helpful for diagnosing idiopathic hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness) or narcolepsy.

Take a Sleep Study Today at Jacksonville Sleep Center

Diagnosing and treating a sleep disorder is vital to your timely recovery and return to a productive daily life. At the Jacksonville Sleep Center, Dr. Nassar and Dr. Festic’s team of professionals specialize in helping patients get the great sleep they need. We offer the latest in technology for sleep disorder diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. If you are experiencing an imbalance in sleep latency, we can help. Schedule an appointment with us today and get your sleep back on track.