If you toss and turn at night, or if you work yourself to the bone and scrape by with just a few hours of shut eye, today’s the day that we are going to get a handle on some good sleep for you. It isn’t much of an exaggeration to say that your life depends on it, because sleep is such a foundational building block.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the average adult requires 7 to 8 hours of solid sleep every night in order to function at an optimal level. It’s also important that this sleep is good sleep, with a healthy number of full sleep cycles. (Kids need even more sleep each night—can someone please remind my toddler of this? Thank you.)

So why does sleep matter? I thought my ability to function on empty was a super power…

In fact, good sleep has a direct impact on our health, happiness, and ability to drive a car. Go figure. The DHHS outlines just a few benefits of getting good sleep regularly:

  • Get sick less often

  • Stay at a healthy weight

  • Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease

  • Reduce stress and improve your mood

  • Think more clearly and do better in school and at work

  • Get along better with people

  • Make good decisions and avoid injuries – for example, sleepy drivers cause thousands of car accidents every year