As we begin the year, make ONE New Year’s Resolution To get enough sleep.

Today, as we are always connected and always running, we pride ourselves of sleeping “just enough.” One third of Americans report not getting enough sleep, and a significant percentage of others say they are lucky in that they don’t “need” much sleep. Sleep is as necessary as food and should be regarded as a basic need.

Most adults need between 7-9 hours. Research shows that sleep deprivation increases the risk of hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression and anxiety. Sleep deprivation can be as dangerous as alcohol when it comes to driving: The effect of 24 hours of wakefulness is the equivalent of .10% blood alcohol content. We all know how sleep deprivation brings the worst in us – we’re more sensitive, lose our sense of perspective and are less able to solve problems.

This requires a commitment, just as getting enough steps in and eating healthier. But the commitment is free and can be taken in small, manageable steps. Embrace the opportunity to rest, cherish your sleep and you will not only feel better but you will be able to tackle more in your personal and professional lives this year.

These steps are well publicized, but 2018 is your year to do them:

1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily

2. Have a room that is dark and not too warm

3. Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon and evening

4. Avoid eating two hour before bedtime

5. Limit alcohol

6. Exercise regularly

7. Leave your electronic devices that emit a blue light in another room (cell phone, tablet, computer, TV)

8. Develop a ritual and treat sleep as a luxury we can all afford.