How Sleep Can Heal Your Heart (VIDEO)

01/31/2014 09:00 am ET | Updated Jan 31, 2014

We know that getting enough sleep is good for us -- the people who sleep seven to eight hours are the ones least likely to develop heart disease, diabetes and obesity -- but it's not always easy to log those Zzs.

"Sleep for me is one of the biggest challenges," Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., said in a recent appearance on HuffPost Live, "because every day there's so much I want to do and so much I want to get done."

Some people can get by on fewer hours, said Michael Grandner, Ph.D., a psychiatry instructor and sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, but the problem is we're poor judges of how sleepy we are and may not accurately evaluate what's truly "enough." "Ask yourself if you have adequate energy, do you have a hard time keeping your eyes open in the middle of the day," he said. The urge to fall asleep just because you're a little bored probably means you're not getting enough sleep.

Another surefire sign you should spend more time in the Land of Nod? If you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, he said.

Check out the clip above for Grandner's tips on how to ease into bedtime instead.

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