Don’t Cheat Sleep!

With so much to get done in a day—and not enough hours to do it all—sleep is one of the first things most Americans skimp on for the sake of their to-do list. But sacrificing a good night’s sleep can adversely affect everything from the quality of your mood to the size of your jeans. And by good, we mean seven to nine hours of sleep per night, not the six or less that three out of 10 adults clock on a regular basis. Here, five simple steps to help you start scoring more ZZZs!

Invest in a quality mattress and pillows. If your mattress is more than 10 years old, you’re probably due for a new model. And pillows should generally be replaced about every two years. (Purchase ones that are designed for the position in which you generally sleep—stomach, side, back—keeping in mind that your head, neck, and spine should be in line.)

Buy the best bed linens you can afford. Sweet dreams come easier when you’re resting on silky, soft sheets. Be sure to launder bed linens regularly, according to manufacturer’s instructions, and consider using fabric softener or a scent booster, especially ones that feature soothing scents like herbal lavender and vanilla.

Keep your bedroom cool. If your room’s too warm, it can cause restlessness, even nightmares; too cold, and your body won’t fully relax. For optimal snoozing, keep the thermostat set at 65°F.

Take a technology break. An hour before you plan to hit the sack, power down the television, computer, tablet, etc., all of which emit a blue aura known as daylight spectrum light that may keep you awake.

Say no to another drink. Lay off the booze for at least three hours before bedtime. Alcohol is a stimulant, and while it may initially knock you out, you’re likely to wake often and not feel rested come morning.