This simple spoon test will tell you just how sleep deprived you really are

Tired?

You're not the only one. Insomnia can be caused by stress, anxiety, even a bad diet. And many of us suffer.

It's 3am and you're wide awake, tossing and turning, counting sheep – to no avail. You're still woolly in the morning.

Sleep deprivation can lead to health complications. Getting fewer than five hours a night, for example, greatly increases your chance of diabetes.

Getty Tired new parents

But just how sleep deprived are you?

Before you seek medical help from physicians, try chamomile tea and late-night yoga, there's a simple test to see how you're being affected.

After all, it's difficult to track the hours you actually get in bed –and monitor the difference between deep and light sleep.

All you need is a spoon and a metal tray.

Dr Michael Mosley recommends a strange-sounding Sleep Onset Latency Test. It was developed by a researcher called Nathaniel Kleitman from the University of Chicago.

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"It's based on solid science," Mosley writes in the Mail.

To try the experiment, Mosley says, is "lie down in a quiet, darkened room in the early afternoon (note, this is a daytime test) clutching a spoon, which you hold over the edge of the bed.

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"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?"

Clang!

The idea is that when you nod off, the spoon will drop from your "senseless fingers" and land with a loud clang on the metal tray below – thereby waking you up.

Getty Images Woman struggling to sleep

When you wake, immediately check the time to see how much time has elapsed. According to Professor Kleitman, if you fall asleep within five minutes of closing your eyes, you're severely sleep deprived.

Within ten minutes indicates then you're having trouble getting a good night's rest, and anything over 15 minutes is just about okay.

It's a pretty easy way of testing how tired you are – and once you know, you can start thinking about ways to tackle bedtime.

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