While sleep needs vary, most adults require 7 to 9 hours per night. The best way to determine how much sleep you need is to do a little experiment: First, try to catch up on sleep for several nights on a weeklong vacation during which you can turn in when you’re tired and wake up without an alarm clock. Once your sleep debt has been replenished, keep track of the amount of sleep you need each night after that (the fifth through the seventh night, for example) to feel alert and energized for the bulk of the next day. You can use this number as a gauge of how much sleep you really require on a regular basis.
When you return home from vacation, make it a priority to carve out enough time for that restorative shut-eye nightly. To reach that optimal quota, adjust your sleep schedule gradually in 15-minute (or no more than 30-minute) increments over a few days. You might shift your bedtime 15 to 30 minutes earlier on a Monday, spend three or four nights adjusting to the change, then make another shift on Thursday or Friday, and so on—until you’re back to getting the amount of shut-eye that’s optimal for you.
To improve the quality and quantity of your sleep every night, use the following strategies: