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Productivity sleep

How to Sleep Your To-Do List Away: Part II

4 Steps for Sleeping More and Being More Productive

Now that it’s clear why sleep is so important, here’s how to get more sleep to be more productive.

For moms with babies and toddlers who still don’t sleep through the night (especially during those endless teething months!), I advise that you just do your best to sleep when you can. Squeeze in power naps when the kids are napping and keep your daily routine simple so you’re not too hard on yourself!

For those of us who are past those pre-K years, the culprit isn’t usually our kids’ sleep schedule, but #allofthethings that need to get done for them, for you, and for the household in general!

Try these 4 steps to get a handle on your sleep and boost your productivity.

1. Set a Realistic Nighttime Routine

I’m really emphasizing realistic here because in today’s crazy busy world, especially as working moms, it’s difficult to have a consistent routine. Instead of telling yourself to be in bed at 9 PM every night, give yourself a flexible time range that you can stick to—for example, try to get to bed sometime between 9 and 10 PM every night.

Creating a nighttime routine for yourself is more than just sticking to a bedtime, though. Establishing certain habits before heading to bed can help train your body that it’s time to sleep. It’s also a great opportunity to cross a few more items off your to-do list and maybe create a fresh to-do list for the next day.

Before heading to bed, make your morning simpler by getting some tasks out of the way now. Pack the kids’ lunches the night before and lay out your outfit for the next day. Through it all, start to wind down mentally so that you can fall asleep easier.

The more prepared you are for the next day, the more productive you’ll be with your time!

2. Pay Attention to What You Consume Before Bed

After a long, hard day of work and mommy responsibilities, you may be tempted to have a glass—or 3—of wine once the kids are asleep. I know I am!

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol can actually cause sleep disturbances. While one glass likely won’t do much damage, drinking more than a couple glasses of liquor before heading to bed can cause disruptions to your sleep later in the night, leaving you feeling sleepy the next day.

Smokers should also avoid nicotine before bed as they can go through withdrawals while asleep, resulting in interrupted sleep.

3. Avoid Screens

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch your favorite TV series before bed, just don’t start watching it too late! Give yourself a few minutes of time after you’ve turned the TV off to unwind before heading to bed—this will make it easier to fall asleep.
And, as tempting as it is, don’t break out your smartphone to catch up on social media once you’re in bed. The backlight can suppress the chemical in your body—melatonin—that tells you it’s time to sleep.
Plus, if you like to read before bed, try to read an actual paper book or magazine instead of your phone or tablet (for the same reason).

4. Exercise—But Not Right Before Bed

Exercise improves your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep longer. It also helps increase your REM sleep cycle, the deepest, most rejuvenating part of sleep. Without it, you wouldn’t wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day’s tasks.

But, since exercise gets your blood pumping, it also raises your internal temperature and increases adrenaline—all of which can make it hard to fall asleep. So try to get your exercise in long before it’s time for bed.

Most Importantly, Make Sleep a Priority!

Sleep and productivity are directly linked. There’s so much more we can all do to improve our sleep, but the key is that you should make sleep a priority—just like eating, drinking, and staying active. Sleeping more will prepare you for tackling your busy day and clearing off your to-do list efficiently.

If you get enough sleep to function at your best, you’ll be well on your way to being a productive, successful, happy mom.

Productivity sleep

How to Sleep Your To-Do List Away: Part I

For us moms, it’s always a balancing act to get enough sleep to function throughout the day and still accomplish enough on our to-do lists.

Many of us think that in order to be successful, we need to wake up early and burn the midnight oil. But we’ve also been told that getting sufficient sleep is essential to our overall health. So, what if we want both, productivity and improved health?

Well, we can have both—because more sleep leads to increased productivity! Science has shown that we need a healthy amount of sleep every night to be productive during the day.

In the next two articles, we’ll tackle the tough topic (for moms!) of sleep—why it’s so important, and how to get more done while still getting more sleep!

First things first: Here’s why sleep matters so much.

Why More Sleep Helps You Get More Done

Sleep Supports Optimum Brain Function

If you’ve had a newborn, then you’re familiar with the negative impact that lack of sleep has on your energy level and productivity! We all have days when we drag ourselves through the endless hours with lots of caffeine and still struggle to focus.

According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), sleep deprivation impairs our alertness and attention, negatively affecting certain brain structures and functions. All of these adverse neurological impacts also have an effect on our productivity. If we’re constantly drowsy and our attention is fleeting, no wonder we’re accomplishing so little during the day!

We’re also more likely to make mistakes when we’re tired, meaning that we spend more time correcting our errors. Getting enough sleep in the first place keeps us from having to backtrack to fix something and waste precious time!

Sleep Reduces Procrastination

If you’re like me, when you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is make decisions and deal with a never-ending list of daily responsibilities like work, chores, and helping the kids with homework. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

When we wake up tired, we’re much more likely to push off difficult tasks for another day, which just means more work is piling up and adding to our ongoing overwhelm.

When we’re well-rested, on the other hand, we’re more likely to tackle the day’s tasks instead of procrastinating. We’ll also be much more willing to attempt the more difficult, important tasks on our to-do list when we’ve had enough sleep—like taking the car in for service, filing that health insurance claim we’ve been putting off, or helping our child with their science project.

But HOW Do I Get More Sleep?!

I get it, there are only 24 hours in a day and something has to give, right? Well, not if you’re strategic about managing your waking, and sleeping, hours. In my next post, I’ll share some helpful tips for getting more sleep and getting more done while you’re at it. Yes, it is possible, I promise!

Food & Nutrition

4 Simple Tips For A Healthy Gut – And Why It Matters.

Why is a healthy gut important?

Sounds a bit silly, but how often do you consider the role that your digestive system plays into your overall health?

These days, life is non-stop and families are always go-go-go.  As busy parents, we experience the ups and downs of physical and emotional exhaustion, our kids are pushed to the limits to perform in school and sports, and its easy to sink into a routine of poor nutrition when our time is limited.

Ever wonder why you or your family always fall victim to those seasonal colds or flu?  Are you tired of so often feeling “blah” and fatigued?  Do your kids struggle with concentration?  Maybe its time to reevaluate how you are treating your gut!

Your digestive system is not just a place to put all that food you just ate. It’s also home to about 80% of your entire immune system.  And aside from your brain, your digestive system contains most of your neurotransmitters and mood-altering hormones.  The message?  We need to feed ourselves not just to fill our tummies, but to have the strongest immune systems, the most energy and the happiest mindsets possible!  

4 Tips for a Healthy Gut

Here are some tips for keeping those guts healthy:

1. Minimize sugary and processed foods/snacks.  Sugar causes inflammation, and an inflamed digestive system is not a healthy one

2. Step it up a notch with your fresh fruits and vegetables.  You can’t eat too much, and the fiber is crucial in maintaining a happy gut.  Even if you think you get plenty, a fiber supplement is still a great idea, even for kids!

2. Drink plenty of water.  Adults are more than 60% water! Its important to stay hydrated in order for all of your body systems to function

3. Flood your system with probiotics on a daily basis.  Don’t let those bad bacteria take over!  Its great to take a probiotic supplement, and eat plenty of probiotic-rich foods like Greek yogurt (no sugar), kefir, even fermented foods like kimchi! You can learn more about the benefits of probiotics here.

4.  Take an Omega 3 supplement.  Most of us don’t eat enough fish to get adequate Omega 3s, but these fatty oils are a great defense against inflammation in your system. You can learn more about the benefits of Omega 3/Fish Oil supplements here.

Small changes make a big difference! Implementing some of these suggestions will have wonderful benefits for your family.

Fitness & Health

For Moms: 7 Steps To Getting Back In Shape

Can’t find yourself in the mirror? I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and couldn’t see myself. I was hidden under years of “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “I need to get this done for the kids,” “I don’t have time.”

Something had to change, and it had to change fast. I wanted myself back. Having an amazing body and having children aren’t mutually exclusive. Yet, time and focus on myself was something I so easily let slide. That was about to change. In 30 days you can start to see the old you. The YOU that you know is hiding inside and is desperately ready to get back to the world.

Having that body in 30 days may sound too good to be true. And depending on where you are starting, you may not get 100 percent there. But if you stick to the following regime, you WILL see progress. How do I know? I did it!

So, here’s what I did to send those excuses and that stranger in the mirror packing and find me again.

1. Make Time

Your children are watching you. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are teaching them to do the same thing. When I started working out, my kids noticed. They love it; they encourage me and even join in. Just the other day, the kids challenged me to a planking contest! Put it in your calendar, like you would for anything else in your life.

2. Drink a ton of water

There are a lot of different guidelines for healthy water consumption out there. Regardless of which you chose, it’ll mean drastically increasing your water intake. You’ll find drinking water will have many benefits, including reducing your appetite, clearing your skin and aiding in recovery post workout.

3. Eliminate sugar

For 30 days you can do ANYTHING! Sugars and sugar alternatives are hidden everywhere. Get rid of the known ones in your diet and do your best to eliminate the hidden ones in your drinks and foods. The first 10 days are the worst, but don’t give up! You may even feel like you have come down with the flu. the symptoms will go away, too! It isn’t the flu, it is detox.

4. Work it

Add 30 to 45 minutes of exercise five to six days a week. Your level of fitness will increase, so don’t stress about where to begin. Just get started. I used at-home workout videos to get started. That way, I could push myself at my own level without the self-consciousness of a class environment. Incorporate both cardio and weight training. Weight training isn’t just for guys, and it isn’t going to bulk you up. Look for videos that incorporate hand held weights to start. I love planks and pushups to tone by abs and my arms.

5. Watch your drinkable calories

Many of us drink a lot of our calories. We may eat well all day, and then stunt progress with a latte and a few evening drinks. It’s easy to drink 1000+ calories in a day before you know it. Cut those out and you’ll notice a significant difference.

6. Increase Fiber

Fiber is an amazing anti-inflammatory and has tons of health benefits outside of digestive help.

Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber play different roles. Soluble fiber mixes with water to form a gel type substance and helps slow digestion. I recommend having extra before your largest meal to help you feel full, quelling the urge to overeat. This also helps the body absorb nutrients and has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol(the bad kind). You will find this type of fiber in nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, oats and barley.

Insoluble fiber helps your digestive system run more efficiently. Insoluble fiber is in vegetables, whole grains, legumes and wheat bran, but supplements can be a great option if you find a good source. Most store brands are not sufficient in soluble and insoluble fiber, so be sure to examine the label. You may need to work up to this, but I recommend getting over 30 grams of fiber a day.

7. Ensure you are getting enough protein

In addition to daily fuel, protein is critical to repairing your muscles post workout. Avoid the idea of cutting foods from your diet. You just need the right foods, and high-quality protein is exactly what you need to promote weight loss and increase lean muscle mass. Studies again vary on the amount but I would recommend between 60-90 grams.

Alright ladies, my last tip: Stand up taller, pull those shoulders back and spend an extra five minutes getting ready for the day.

Thirty days! You can do it! And while it feels good to receive looks of admiration for your efforts, that’s not the best part in the least. Have you noticed that when you are eating well and working out, you begin to feel different? You probably smile more, have a little more confidence and probably even adopt a more positive self-image. ALL things we want our kids to emulate.

At the end of the thirty day’s you just may start to recognize that woman in the mirror again, I did.

Have additional tips? Share in the comments below!