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The science-backed healthy habit J.Lo never skips, and the big reason why

J.Lo sat down with TODAY's Willie Geist and talked about how having kids changed her lifestyle.
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Jennifer Lopez revealed her secret weapon to a healthy lifestyle and it’s something that everyone can achieve: sleep, and lots of it.

In a sit-down with Sunday TODAY’s Willie Geist, the "Second Act" star opened up about why she makes it a non-negotiable in her schedule.

“Get seven to nine hours of sleep, like carve it out,” Lopez said. “Now the other hours of the day? I’m going full speed. I’m full speed on the rest. But when I lay down I’m like ‘okay, I need my rest.’ And when I don’t get it, something’s gonna suffer. You know, like it will and I’ve learned that.”

It's not just for her own heath — it's for her family, she revealed.

”I’ve hit the wall,” Lopez said. “I’ve had the nervous breakdown where I freeze up from doing too much and not getting sleep. So that’s super important to me. I can’t do that now that I have kids. I can’t have the freeze up.”

Lopez’s “freeze up” moments aren’t all that uncommon. People who run on little sleep experience more health problems, such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. Researchers have found that a lack of sleep makes your brain cells sluggish and slow down communication, similar to the effect of drinking.

Between balancing family and her career, Lopez says her sleep rule is so important. Ethan Miller / Getty Images

A study in the Journal of Sleep Research found that shorter sleep time has serious consequences.

“Short sleep during both weekdays and weekends are associated with increased mortality. Same for long sleep. But, weekday short sleepers who compensate with long weekend sleep have normal mortality,” Torbjörn Åkerstedt, a senior professor, Karolinska Institute, and an author of the study in the Journal of Sleep Research, previously told TODAY.

Lopez also revealed that she doesn’t drink any caffeine or alcohol, which helps aid in her quest to live healthy and well-rested.

“I try to live clean,” Lopez said. “I don’t eat perfect. I eat well, I try to eat well. Like when people eat super clean, that’s not me, you know? But I try to regulate myself and live healthy, but also enjoy myself.”

Props to the incredible singer-dancer-actress and mom!