How to Hack (And Optimize) Your Sleep

how to hack and optimize your sleepWhat are your best tips for hacking and optimizing your sleep, ladies? We’ve talked about different types of insomnia and using sleep cycles wisely, with lots of advice on sleep detractors like anxiety loops as well as some sleep tools like weighted blankets — but I don’t think we’ve ever had a general discussion on how to hack and optimize your sleep. (Oh, and we’ve got a TON of sleep advice for working moms — for both the sleep-deprived kids and sleep-deprived parents — over at CorporetteMoms.)

The Big Fish: The Big Things That Help You Optimize Your Sleep

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Do You Make Your Bed Every Day?

do you make your bed every dayHere’s a random lifestyle question – do you make your bed every day? If there was a certain point in your life when you started making your bed, what was it (e.g., marriage, kids, in-home help like a nanny, or other)? Do you make your “full bed” every day (with a mountain of pillows) or just the basics? (Related questions: how often do you change your sheets? What’s the best purchase you’ve made for your bedroom, whether a specific mattress, a pillow, a favorite set of sheets, or something else?)

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How to Build Good Habits: Tips & Tricks

How to build good habits

2018 update: We still think this is a great discussion about how to build good habits, but you may also want to check out our post on how to stay fit in winter.

Readers, what are your tips on how to build good habits? Which healthy habits have you successfully started? Have you found that one healthy habit had a domino-type effect on other healthy habits (for example, getting to bed earlier)?

A few months ago, I started to get healthier by fitting exercise into my busy daygetting more sleep, and eating healthier. Although I bought a FitBit for points for my health insurance program several months earlier, I only recently started to use its tracking capabilities on a regular basis. I started by setting easy but meaningful goals, including how many days and minutes per week of activity. I made sure to enter all of my activities. To further motivate myself, I got a new bike. I started tracking my miles on two or three apps each day, as well as a legal pad, and set a goal of 100 miles per month. I also set reminders on my calendar. Looking back, I think it was about 4-6 weeks after I started that I realized that I was making exercise a priority and was consistently hitting my goals. I also felt healthier and my clothes fit a little better.

So let’s discuss some of the best tips on how to build good habits…

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How to Function at Work Without Sleep

how to function at work without sleep Whether you had to pull an all-nighter for work, you’ve got a baby, or you were just having too much fun, the worst part of being up all night is the workday that follows — so you’re lucky that we’ve got tips for you on how to function at work without sleep.

In the past we’ve also covered how to find out why you’re tired all the timehow to nap at work, how to deal with insomniahow to use makeup to fake a good night’s sleep, and how to use the right foods for energy to survive the workday.

Here are 10 tips for how to function at work with no sleep:

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The Best Makeup Products to Fake a Good Night’s Sleep

The Best Makeup Products to Fake a Good Night's Sleep | CorporetteI always feel sleep deprived after the seasonal time change  — and whether you’ve just had to pull an all-nighter for work, been up all night reading brain candy or (ahem) other fun, there are lots of reasons you’ll want to fake a good night’s sleep at work. I thought we’d round up some of the best makeup products to fake a good night’s sleep. Readers, do you agree with these general categories of makeup products to help you fake a good night’s sleep — if not, what else do you do? Do you have any favorite products you swear by, whether to look more awake, look more polished, or look younger? 

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Professional Women and Insomnia

insomnia2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion about professional women and insomnia, but you may also want to check out our more recent post on how to hack (and optimize) your sleep.

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep? Going back to sleep? If you’ve ever discussed your insomnia with friends and noticed that most of them are women, it’s not a coincidence: Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to face insomnia for several reasons: hormonal fluctuations due to menstrual cycles (and then menopause), discomfort from pregnancy, and medical conditions that are more common in women, such as depression and anxiety, fibromyalgia, and restless leg syndrome. (Is it also because women bear more emotional labor and more often act as the default parent? I’m no doctor, but I feel like this must play a part…) If you’re dealing with insomnia, what have you tried that’s worked, and what hasn’t? How long have you been struggling?

This infographic from the National Sleep Foundation shares the basics of insomnia: it involves difficulty falling asleep, returning to sleep, or staying asleep; affects about 40 million Americans every year; and is considered chronic insomnia when it happens at least three nights a week for at least three months. (Acute insomnia commonly occurs because of temporary stress and usually goes away without treatment.) According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of insomnia include stress and anxiety; medical conditions (such as chronic pain and overactive thyroid); life changes (such as travel or altered work shifts); bad sleep habits (such as using your bed for things other than sleep and sex); certain medications (such as some antidepressants and antihistamines); caffeine, smoking, or alcohol; and eating too much before going to bed.

Besides following helpful sleep habits and improving your overall health — as these tips from the Mayo Clinic and WebMD detail — you can also try these home remedies for insomnia:   [Read more…]