Taking stock of your sleep needs is a little like managing your money, says William C. Dement, MD, author of The Promise of Sleep (Delacorte, 1999) and director of the Stanford University of Sleep Research Center. To figure cut how much sleep your body requires, audit your sleeping habits daily with a sleep diary, he suggests.
Record what time you go to bed, fall asleep, and wake up. Jot down any naps you take during the day and any nighttime awakenings you can remember. Then figure out your total sleep time for each day. Also, talk to your partner about how you sleep. Are you snoring? If so, you may want to consider a snoring mouthpiece, or some kind of device.
Next, make a note of how you feel the following day. Are you wide awake and energetic? Or do you have a midday slump?
If you’re not alert all day long, go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, suggests James B. Maas, PhD, author of Power Sleep (HarperCollins, 1999) and professor of psychology at Cornell University in…