Knowing how much sleep you need every night is one thing, but actually getting enough sleep is something else entirely. For many people, it’s common to go to bed at a reasonable time, only to toss and turn for several hours, dreading the inevitable fatigue that will come in the morning. But there are some small changes you can make to ensure you’ll actually nod off. To learn more, I spoke with Dr. Michael Breus, who provided expert tips for achieving the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Breus, who is also known as “The Sleep Doctor,” has shared his expertise in numerous blogs, books, and even programs such as The Dr. Oz Show. He alsotweets helpful sleep tips @thesleepdoctor. Not surprisingly, he cautions against the long-term effects of sleep deprivation.
“It affects every organ system,” he says, adding that a lack of sleep can make illnesses and pains worse. In fact, according to Psychology Today, sleep deprivation may even make flu shots less effective. The downsides are not limited to physical pain either, as sleep deprivation can affect your mood tremendously. “If you’re anxious, it makes you more anxious," he says. "If you’re depressed, it makes you more depressed."
Furthermore, when you’re running on too little sleep, your reaction times decrease (not a good thing if you’re driving), and your cognitive functions are impaired. “You don’t make clear decisions the more sleep deprived you are,” Breus says. So to keep your health, mind, and mood in good working order, here are Breus' tips for addressing the most common sleep-related problems.