Struggling to fall asleep at night? This test will tell you just how tired you really are

All you need is a spoon and a metal tray

Sarah Young
Tuesday 25 October 2016 15:49 BST

Do you often feel yourself nodding off at work or on the tube but struggle to fall asleep at night? You’re not alone and chances are you could be sleep deprived.

Luckily, this test will tell you just how tired you really are.

According to the NHS, one in three of us suffer from poor sleep with anxiety, technology and taking work home all to blame, but while feeling grumpy can be bothersome it’s the least of your worries.

Sleep deprivation can also have consequences on your physical health putting you at serious risk of medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

But how can you tell if you’re getting enough sleep? It turns out all you need is a spoon and a metal tray.

Dr Michael Mosley recommends taking the Sleep Onset Latency Test which was developed by Nathaniel Kleitman, a professor from the University of Chicago.

Technology is one of the leading causes for sleep deprivation

“It's based on solid science,” Mosley writes in the Daily Mail.

To take the test, you need to “lie down in a quiet, darkened room in the early afternoon clutching a spoon, which you hold over the edge of the bed.”

“You put a metal tray on the floor by your bed, check the time, then close your eyes. The question is: do you fall asleep and if so how soon after you lie down?”

The concept relies on the fact that when you eventually drift off, the spoon will drop and land on the tray causing a loud bang and wake you up.

At this point, you should immediately check the time to see how long it took you to fall asleep.

According to Professor Kleitman, if you fall asleep within five minutes you could be severely sleep deprived while ten minutes indicates that you’re struggling to get a good night’s kip.

(Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you beat the fifteen minute mark though, you're probably doing just fine.

Of course, with this test there is always the danger that the spoon might miss the tray. In this case, Dr Mosley suggests a simpler version where you set an alarm for fifteen minutes and see if you fall asleep before it sounds.

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