Getting a good night’s rest is not only about how many Zzz’s you get.  Everyone needs a different amount of shut eye.  But, once you figure out your optimal sleep time, it’s also helpful to figure out how to make it the best that it can be.

It’s common conversation to assume that the sleep sweet spot is somewhere between seven and nine hours per night.  A Wall Street Journal article “Sleep Experts Close In on the Optimal Night’s Sleep” notes that skimping on a full night’s sleep impairs performance and memory the next day.  Of course the opinions differ between camps.  Some stick to the general theory that eight hours a night is a minimum.  Others define seven hours as the amount necessary to ensure the best cognitive ability.  Newer theories note data that reveals that those that get an average of somewhere just over six hours a night have a lower mortality rate.  The target amount of sleep differs for each person and it is likely to change as we age.  Your body will tell you how much is the best amount of snooze time for you.

Once you know your optimal amount of shut eye, get into a sleep routine to ensure that your bed time is well spent.  Many people expand their weekend nights to a later hour than their “school night” bedtimes.  They may also sleep in or nap on Saturday or Sunday to enjoy a quick snooze (harder to do midweek in an office).

“The Real Reason You’re So Tired On Mondays” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/21/social-jet-lag-mondays_n_5596375.html) could be due in part to the fact that you are not sticking to a regular “sleep-wake schedule every day”.  Shelby Freedman Harris, director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, recommends that people try to manage “social jet lag” by, in part, minimizing changes to your sleep cycle brought on by the weekend.  Harris says that “sleeping in late on both Saturday and Sunday after staying out late both nights is a no-no”.

Once you are in bed, you can use physical options to track how you sleep – which will yield data to help you enhance it.  A plethora of devices are now available for people to monitor and analyze their sleeping habits.  Gear that you wear, like the newest Fitbit, can tell you if your sleep was interrupted or restless.  Smart phone apps allow you to use the accelerometer in your phone to collect other nighttime data.  Other equipment either bedside (monitors) or in the bed (a sensored mattress) can also let you know how you are doing.

Once you see how you sleep, you can take steps to up the quality.  The web offers tons of advice on enhancing your sleep situation from the freebies (such as set a nighttime ritual such as calming breathing) and those that you can purchase like pillows, white noise machines, blackout curtains and more.

Getting the right amount of sleep is important in being alert the next day.  Luckily there are plenty of ways to make your sleep time downright dreamy.