( Daily Mail ) We all feel better after a good night’s sleep.
And you might think that, as well as getting your seven hours, entails drifting off within minutes of getting into bed.
But that could be a ‘bad sign’, according to one sleep expert.
Falling asleep in under five minutes indicates that you are likely sleep deprived, Dr Sophie Bostock, dubbed The Sleep Scientist, has warned.
Taking longer than half an hour may also be cause for alarm.
Speaking on the Her Spirit podcast hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Michin, Dr Bostock revealed you are also more prone to making bad decisions when tired, which can further harm your sleep pattern.
While adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep, children are advised to have between nine and 13, the NHS recommends.
The health service estimates it takes most people 14 minutes on average to nod off.
Speaking on the podcast episode, Dr Bostock said: ‘If you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, this is very often a sign of sleep deprivation.
‘If you are falling asleep within five minutes of getting into bed, the chances are actually you could probably benefit from a bit more sleep.
‘So if you are sat next to someone like that, you can just feel a little bit smug that actually, maybe they are a bit short of sleep.’
Dr Bostock, who gained a PhD in health psychology from University College London and has appeared on shows including This Morning to talk about sleep science, revealed the secret to a satisfying sleep instead lies in falling asleep in under 20 minutes.
But being tired can simply lead to more tiredness and become a cycle we need to break.
She told the podcast: ‘Anything from 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep is really normal, but if it’s regularly taking more than half-an-hour you might want to look at your sleep habits.’
She added: ‘When we’re tired we’re very susceptible to sleep procrastination, so try to make the decisions about sleep when you’re not tired.
‘The problem comes when we’re already tired and we can’t be bothered to stop.
‘That’s why Netflix does that automatically playing the next episode thing.’
Dr Bostock recommended the best way to improve your sleep pattern is to only get into bed when you actually feel tired.
She said: ‘Don’t get into bed until you’re sleepy tired.
‘When you actually feel your eyelids getting heavy, perhaps a little bit itchy, that’s a cue that your body is ready for bed.
‘We want to develop a positive mental association between our beds and sleep.’