NEW ORLEANS - We've all heard that you need eight hours of sleep each night. But how much sleep are you actually getting, and what do experts think about it?

We stopped nine people in the French Quarter and asked them "How many hours of sleep do you think you get each night?" Their responses ranged from plenty to not enough.

"Some people can get by with less sleep. Some people need more sleep," sleep expert Dr. Stephen Layne said. "You're probably somewhere around that eight-hour mark, within an hour or so on either side."

Tips for falling asleep fast

For a lot of people, meeting that 7-9 hour window of sleep is difficult. The Center for Disease Control says if you are having difficulties falling asleep, you should:

  • exercise during the day
  • avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • remove or turn off electronics in the bedroom
  • be consistent: go to bed and wake up at the same time every day - even on weekends
  • make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and a comfortable temperature

These tips should help, but sleep experts say technology is to blame for people getting less sleep.

"We're actually seeing that there is less sleep than what we used to see," Layne said. "Electricity caused a big disruption to sleep. And I think the next biggest disruption is with smartphones and everything else. People are staying up reading and flipping through social media, and lighting in itself kind of cues your brain that you're going to be awake."

WWL-TV reporter Meghan Kee can be reached at mkee@wwltv.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MeghanKeeWWL