In today's economic culture, if you want to make more money you're going to have to go into debt—sleep debt, that is.

If that sounds like common sense to you, it's probably because you're one of the millions of Americans who readily sacrifices sleep to the gods of work—which, according to a recent article in the New York Times, is a common affliction for those on the highest and lowest ends of the economic spectrum.

"Sleep is a place where people consistently cut in," said Nancy Koehn, historian at the Harvard Business School. 

Health-wise, that's a big mistake. The medical evidence on the benefits of sleep (and dangers of not getting enough of it) are unequivocal. But sleep-deprived workers shouldn't expect employers to alleviate that burden any time soon, Koehn warns.

"The employer's incentive in a lot of cases...is to get workers to do more work. I don't think we're going to get an enormous amount of help on the demand side of the labor market," she said. "That puts the onus on all of us as good stewards of ourselves."

To do that, Koehn recommends some preventative measures for good sleep: setting a strict schedule, relaxing the body with a long shower or bath before bed, cutting back on nighttime caffeine and sugar consumption, and keeping smartphones and other brain-stimulating gadgets out of the bedroom.

In short, the hours before you drift off play a big role in determining the quality of the sleep you'll get.

"How you take that time is going to be really important to what's going to happen when you climb in bed and close your eyes," she said.

To hear more from Nancy Koehn, tune in to her full segment on Boston Public Radio above.