Sleep is underrated today in our overcommitted lives. That’s why we’re launching a Sleep Blog to promote the benefits of sleep. And not just any sleep: optimal sleep.

For most people, optimal sleep means that they get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down, and sleep continuously without long periods of lying awake. But optimal sleep isn’t just about the sleeping process itself; it’s about how you feel afterward. With optimal sleep you wake up feeling refreshed and you feel alert and productive during waking hours.

Basically, optimal sleep is what many Minnesotans did not experience over the month between hosting Super Bowl LII and watching Minnesotans compete—and win gold medals!—in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a 15-hour time difference.

What's the best way for us to collectively recover? We’d like to kick off our Sleep Blog with some tips:

1. Increase the number of hours you're sleeping at night. When you get 4 hours of sleep or fewer a night for a week, your performance equates to what it would be if you were beyond the legal limit of alcohol consumption (read: drunk). So you need to increase the number of hours you're sleeping, particularly as you’re trying to recover. The general rule is that the number of hours of sleep you miss in a given night requires that many days to recover. That's right days. So, get sleeping, Minnesota!

2. Nap! That is if you nap for less than 30 minutes or for more than 90 minutes. Deep sleep usually occurs after 30-60 minutes of sleep, and a full sleep cycle is about 90 minutes. Sleep is cumulative so 20-30 minutes will add up; it's not a waste of time. If you have 90 minutes or more, nap away. But if you nap between 30 and 90 minutes watch out: you may wake up feeling groggy and a little disoriented, and it's hard to shake off. You risk feeling worse after your nap than before.

3. Cut off caffeine after noon and don’t eat large meals before bedtime. Times of high stress and activity can lead to unhealthy drinking and eating habits. When the rush is over, it’s important for people to get back to their routine. A good place to start is to avoid alcohol within 4 hours of bedtime, caffeine after 12pm (noon), and large meals right before bed as they affect one’s ability to fall, and stay, asleep.

Follow these tips for a speedy recovery from short-term sleep deprivation and for healthy sleep habits in general. Sleep well, Minnesota!