Sometimes it can be tough to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night. But research shows it’s important to our mental, emotional and physical health.

While you sleep, your body works to repair cells and control how it uses energy. This helps protect you from all kinds of issues, from chronic health conditions to infections. Sleep also improves brain function. When you don’t get enough, your reflexes, ability to concentrate and mood all suffer. Chronic lack of sleep can even increase the risk for depression.

Get more shut-eye:

  • Try meditating, reading or another calming activity before going to bed.
  • Turn off screens two hours before bed. The blue light that most televisions, computers and cellphones give off can confuse your body, making it harder to fall asleep and leaving you groggy the next day.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night. This allows your body to regulate its internal clock, helping you fall asleep faster and wake up more easily.

Everyone’s different, so if you have continued sleep problems, be sure to talk to your doctor.