By Judith Zimmer
Updated: March 07, 2008

energy_sleepHit that snooze button—getting your Z's can be crucial to how you feel the rest of the day.

We know that: Getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep at the same time every night will keep you rested and alert. And dont think about cheating your-self through the week, because you cant make up for it on the weekends, says Arthur Spielman, PhD, a psychology professor at The City College of the City University of New York and co-author with Paul Glovinsky, PhD, of The Insomnia Answer.

But did you know: Hitting the shower can help you snooze. Taking a hot bath or shower before you hit the hay has long been thought to provide deeper, more restful sleep (and is certainly worth a try). But new studies with animals show that just the opposite—cooling the brain—results in a deep REM sleep. Cold shower, anyone?

Instant-energy blast: Try a power nap. Researchers have found that, like nighttime sleep, naps can enhance information-processing and learning. While experts debate about which type of siesta is more beneficial (a 20-minute catnap or an hour-long doze) they do know that resting for about 30 minutes to an hour before midafternoon (so you can fall asleep at night) provides a boost on days when youre sleep-deprived. If you happen to be out and about when a sleepy spell hits, look for the new snoozing suites that are popping up in cities and offices around the country (see for info on one provider). But dont make napping a habit: If you do it too often, it can interfere with your regular sleep patterns, Spielman says.