Diet.com blogger Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author of The Exhaustion Cure, and professional speaker. She is president of The Productivity Pro, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress firms.

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The Exhaustion Cure

by Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro

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The Exhaustion CureYou might be surprised to learn that there's a simple treatment that boosts energy levels, improves memory, increases your ability to concentrate, strengthens your immune system, and decreases your risk of death and injury in accidents. Amazingly, it costs absolutely nothing, and is available to anyone.

It's called "sleep." Ever heard of it?

Quality, restful, undisturbed sleep is one of the keys to maximizing your daytime energy level, but it may take a little tinkering to find what's right for you. Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Catch the right number of Z's. Experiment with finding the amount of sleep that's right for you, and stick with it religiously -- even on the weekends and holidays!

2. Nap wisely. If you absolutely have to take a nap, limit it to one hour -- and don't nap at all if you suffer from insomnia.

3. Treat sleep disorders. If you can't get any rest, have yourself tested for sleep disorders. There are over 100, and each can interfere with your physical and emotional well being.

4. Lose weight. Obesity and poor sleep patterns go hand-in-hand, and just make each other worse. Your only real choice is to nip obesity in the bud.

5. Reset your body clock. Faulty circadian rhythms can foul up the timing of your normal sleep/wake cycle. The fix? Work to reset your body clock naturally.

6. Create the right sleep environment. Your bedroom should be your sleeping sanctuary, not a place to read, knit, or watch TV. If your body associates bed with sleep, you'll get to sleep more quickly and sleep better.

7. Eat, drink, and be sleepy. Never go to bed hungry, but don't go to bed right after dinner either. In addition, you should watch your intake of alcohol, water, and stimulants late in the evening.

8. Sleep well when traveling. Look for hotels, like the Crowne Plaza chain, that understand the need for great sleep and provide for it. If you plan to travel several time zones away, try resetting your body clock in advance.

Never underestimate the value of a good night's sleep. If you don't get enough sleep, you'll suffer fatigue, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability the next day. While the body can dig into its reserves for a few days, inadequate sleep will eventually reduce your effectiveness at anything you attempt to do.

Laura Stack (www.TheProductivityPro.com) is a personal productivity expert, author and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations. She is the bestselling author of The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004). Visit TheProductivityPro.com to sign up for her free newsletter.

@ 6:33am ET on May 12, 2008
It has been years since I've known a solid night of deep sleep. Years of waking up every hour on the hour, or worse yet, not even being able to go to sleep, has led to a tv playing all night, hoping it will put me to sleep--sometimes successfully, some times not...or worse yet, roaming the house and middle of the night eating. Some of the things in this little blog makes me realize a couple of changes to make that could help the present situation. This book could be a worthwhile investment!!!!

@ 7:32am ET on May 12, 2008
I would give anything for one good nights sleep. I haven't slept through the night in years. I can't imagine what it would be like to wake up refreshed. I think I need this book. Thanks


@ 7:40am ET on May 12, 2008
Sleep what is it? Post traumatic stress, depression, a 2 year old, 3 teen age girls,10 years of careing for the wife since a major car accident, constant stress, no money, to many bills, to little food, to high a fuel prices and not enough hours in a day. Who has time for sleep let alone remember what or how to do it.

@ 8:08am ET on May 12, 2008
What can you do about the sleep changes that come with menopause?

@ 10:20am ET on May 12, 2008
I would love to get a really goodnight's sleep! I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine but with other problems with my back I still cannot sleep more than 4 or 5 hours without waking with a terrible backache. Many nights I sleep in a recliner and that is not a very restful sleep eitehr. I need all the advise I can get!! Thank you!

@ 10:24am ET on May 12, 2008
how do you go about figuring out the "right" number of "zzzz's" to get? I get about 6 hours, and I guess that's alright for a 34 year old woman, some days I wake up sore if I sleep more than 8 hours, but if i go to sleep naturally,and don't set my alarm to wake me, then my body probably needed the hours, right?

@ 10:38am ET on May 12, 2008
Me = exhausted =[ I run myself into overdrive but i dont know how i'm still moving because i know deep down I'm super exhausted...Thanks for the tips! I will be trying these AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!...

@ 11:22am ET on May 12, 2008
Ahh, finally, something that might be able to help my mother. She is 73 years old and has suffered for quite sometime- possibly 12 years. Mild tranquilizers don't even do the trick. She has gained about 40 lbs and has been told that her lack of sleep can cause weight gain. She is literally exhausted during the day, almost to the point of collapse from what I believe is not getting enough sleep. I will be sure to pass the info about this book along to her. Thanks!!

@ 11:23am ET on May 12, 2008
i like the idea of testing the appropriate amount of sleep I need each night. I tend to get whatever I can...sometimes less than six hours. Its not working! I conked out for a two hour nap!

@ 11:59am ET on May 12, 2008
I had no idea that there were over 100 sleep disorders....that's incredible. I know

@ 12:00pm ET on May 12, 2008
...(sorry), but as I was saying...I know that it is so important to go to bed and wake up at the same times (even on the weekends), yet I just associate the weekends with sleeping in and I don't know how to motivate myself to change that. I could maybe make a new mini goal to figure that out.

@ 12:53pm ET on May 12, 2008
I have no problem falling asleep especially in front of the tv (it's like a sleeping pill)

@ 1:08pm ET on May 12, 2008
To finish my message--going to sleep is no problem- I have problems staying asleep. Since the menopause years I have had times when I can sleep and then there are nights that I wake and cannot go back to sleep and then there are nights when I only wake twice. But in either case I feel tired and just drag myself through the work day and my mind is so tired that it makes working difficult. I also have gained weight and I know that hasn't helped my problem and I also snore and have tried several gimmicks to help this problem. I feel as if I am dragging myself through each day.

@ 3:59pm ET on May 12, 2008
i haven't slept more than at least 2 hours per night in so many years. I have tried a CPAP machine, sleeping pills and different other methods to fall asleep. I have severe sleep apnea. I exercise, do eat well, meditate what else is out there that i need to do? Help

@ 12:41am ET on May 13, 2008
If I wake up after 3 hours of sleep, my body believes it has had enough sleep and I cannot fall back to sleep... no matter what I do .... for at least 3 hours!!!!!

@ 5:25pm ET on May 13, 2008
have a son & sister in law who have horrible sleep disorders. neither can function normally on a day to day basis. therefore no college,no jobs,no regular lifestyle. please help me to help them. thanks

@ 2:01pm ET on May 14, 2008
finding the right amount of sleep for oneself and following it religiously may be fix for faulty circadian rhythms.all these gives instantaneous clarity

@ 9:13pm ET on May 14, 2008
I also had no idea that there were so many sleep disorders. I personally don't get enough sleep. When it's time for bed I usually am not sleepy but then I get sleepy during the day. I think my sleep pattern is just totally off. It would be nice to be able to read this book and finally get a good nights sleep.

@ 12:11pm ET on May 15, 2008
THis is so true. I found out when I give myself an hour nap before My graveyard shift it helped me function within the duration of my shift.

@ 1:36pm ET on May 15, 2008
Whoa, graveyard!
Does that ever bring back memories of sleeplessness.
4 kids under the age of 5 and working graveyard in a plywood mill--it was a waking nightmare!
I feel for you.
I have found that if I take a mild sleep aid I am fine, otherwise I just lie there convincing myself that "at least I am resting"!
I don't like taking the sleep aid, but I really seem to get the rest I need and I function so much better at work and life in general.
I do find that if I have been overly busy and don't get enough sleep, a 10-20 minute "power nap" at lunchtime really helps me.
I think I'll look for the book and see what I could do to go to sleep without the meds.

@ 9:12am ET on May 16, 2008
I don't have a problem "falling" asleep. But I have a major problem with broken sleep. I can't remember the last time I've actually slept through the night. My other problem is my inner clock is completely off. I am exhausted when I get up in the morning, and I don't feel better until later in the day. Then I seem to get a second wind and I can't fall asleep anytime before 12-1 AM!! It's a vicious cycle and I can't seem to break myself of it. Try dealing with that and three kids....UGH :/

@ 5:42pm ET on May 16, 2008
I have had fatique for 20 years - my whole adult life. I sleep about 9 hours a night. I finally found a doctor who HEARD my comlaint - my new neurologist is experimenting with removing some meds from my agenda to see if that is the cause (no changes yet) and if not he wants to continue experimenting with other potential causes. BUT, never in my life have I considered that I am getting poor quality sleep - I get tons of sleep, so I always assumed it was some outside factor. Interesting...and something to look into.

@ 6:40pm ET on May 16, 2008
I worry about everything and when I try to go to sleep it is the worst. I just assumed that was how everyone is these days. I would love to get a good nights sleep again.

@ 10:31pm ET on May 17, 2008
I'm a 49 year old woman who suffers from MS. I don't know if its cause of my condition or the excesive heat and tiredness I feel, I'm not able to get a whole night sleep without waking up a few times at night.

@ 8:28am ET on May 27, 2008
How sad it is that knowing and doing are so far apart. I'm even supposed to use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea and don't get around to it. Knowing I have a cure for my sleepness nights and not doing anything about it is stupid. How do I get myself to take care of myself??? Is there anyone else that's so hard on themselves this way?

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