The ideal: Get at least seven hours each night. Skimping on sleep can have a major impact on your health. A 2007 study at the University of Warwick, in England, found that women who slept fewer than five hours a night were twice as likely to suffer from hypertension as women who got seven hours of sleep. Previous studies have linked lack of sleep to weight gain and a weakened immune system.
The next best thing: If you’ve been short on sleep, take a nap. A recent study found that people who took a short daily nap had a lower rate of dying from heart disease than did those who never snoozed during the day. Two suggestions:
- Lie down for a 20-minute siesta in the afternoon to revive yourself.
- Take a quick catnap when you get home from work to counteract the effects of lost sleep.