BY SANDRA GUY

Graduation week is upon us and students can feel a tingle of excitement as they enjoy their first relaxing spring break in two long years.

Only one element lies between claim and reality: A good night’s sleep.

After all, as March’s designation as Sleep Awareness Month reminds us, few things impact mental health more than sleep.

Lack of sleep makes almost every problem worse, or at least reduces our ability to deal with stressors.

Research shows that regular lack of sleep can lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

So how do you ensure a good night’s sleep, especially when you’re feeling anxious?

Try these tips:

In fact, researchers at the University of South Florida, who focused on sleep timing, duration, regularity, efficiency, and other factors, found that each additional increase in sleep health problems was associated with a 54 percent increased risk of heart disease.

So take a deep breath, scour your to-do list for unnecessary time wasters, and make sleep a priority.