Adults in America are chronically sleep deprived; one in three of us don’t get enough sleep. At the same time, doctors are beginning to realize just how critical sleep is for human health.
“I used to say sleep was the third pillar [of health],” said Dr. Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley during an expert panel on sleep at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Health conference on Wednesday. “I was absolutely wrong. It’s the foundation.”
But even though people know they should get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, it’s not always that easy. Here are the six sleep tips from the pros assembled at the panel.
Figure out how much sleep you need
Here’s a simple way to tell if you need more sleep: “When you are given the opportunity, and you sleep in, you’re not getting enough sleep,” said Dr. Jamie Zeitzer, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. So if you typically get seven hours of sleep of night, but on vacation you sleep well past that, that’s a sign, says Zeitzer. (Wake up as usual, and you’re on a good schedule.)