Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep each night. Researchers now suspect that lack of sleep may wreck havoc on your body. Lack of sleep disrupts levels of key hormones and proteins. These include the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin (that’s why lack of sleep contributes to weight gain); stress hormones such as cortisol that raise blood sugar and blood pressure and proteins involved in chronic inflammation, a condition in which the immune system is constantly doing battle, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Lack of sleep also seems to reduce levels of melatonin, a hormone that may help protect against cancer. Simply stated, lack of sleep makes you feel awful! Getting a good night’s sleep is not always easy. What is a woman to do? Try establishing a bedtime routine and stay with it! Count back 8 hours from the time you have to get up. Make this your new non-negotiable lights-out bedtime. One hour before your new bedtime start unwinding and relaxing. One half hour before lights out, be in bed and begin to rest your mind. The bedroom needs to be quiet. A simple meditation can be very relaxing. Lights out now! Sleep well!