insomnia

Organizations have developed numerous sleep hygiene tips to help you slip into sleep and stay asleep. The National Sleep Foundation, for instance, recommends doing things like establishing a regular relaxing routine before bed, setting up a sleep-friendly environment so that the temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees and the room is dark, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and getting regular aerobic exercise.

Although these strategies are certainly worth following, they won’t work unless you first shift your attitude about sleep. “You need to view sleep as an investment, not an expense,” says Michael Grandner, PhD, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. “Just as you have to invest money to make money, you also have to invest in sleep, and though it might take time, it’ll pay off in the long run.”

That starts by realizing that bragging about sleeping too little is akin to boasting about eating five Big Macs in one sitting. Instead, schedule sleep in your to-do list, and make sure you’re aiming for at least seven hours.

“Although everybody has a different sleep need, most people need between seven and nine hours,” says Britney Blair, PsyD, CBSM, a California-based clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist.