Sleep. We all need it to live but unfortunately many of us liken it to a chore. Sleep is so critical to health that chronic poor sleep will make you sick, unproductive, have a poor memory, and age faster. Sleep is the time when your brain not only rests, but cleans house, and assimilates and integrates new information.

Imagine your body as a car. If you floored the gas constantly and never changed the oil or tires, or conducted any maintenance, do you think the car would run very well or last very long? Probably not. Now, imagine you did everything necessary to maintain your car, would it work more efficiently and last longer? You bet. I think this is the perfect analogy for making people realize how crucial sleep is.

In this section we will work to make small changes to your sleep routine that will optimize your sleep quality and quantity. We will be making one change at a time, every other day, over the course of the next 30 days. When integrated as a whole, they will set the stage for the best, most rejuvenating sleep possible. All of the recommendations and changes I will be suggesting are evidence based and have been shown to positively impact sleep. No matter how trivial some may seem, please do your best to incorporate each of them into your routine.

You may have an established bedtime routine such as watching the evening news while browsing Facebook, finishing up emails, and drinking 2 glasses of wine with the lights on all the way up until bed. If this is you, then many of the recommendations I make will shake things up and require you to settle into an entirely new routine. Please understand that in order to get your best sleep, we need to create proper sleep habits, and new habits need consistency to take root. So please commit to this for at least 30 days. With that said, let’s get to sleep!

Dr. Perlmutter is one of the leading lights in medicine today, illuminating the path for solving chronic illness

Mark Hyman, MD