1. Don’t get eight hours of sleep every night
Measuring your sleep is like being able to distinguish a quilted chanel handbag from a canal street knock-off: you quickly discover that it’s the quality that counts. If you’re juggling multiple responsibilities (career, family, relationships, browsing online sales, etc.) and it feels like your mind is always racing, you may be suffering from “semisomnia.” Dr. Neil Stanley, a U.K.-based sleep expert, coined the term to describe persistent low-grade exhaustion—a condition that effects 75 percent of the population and has been linked to health issues such as irritability, poor performance, lowered immunity and mood swings. in the longer term, it can lead to depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
So how do you know if the quality of your sleep isn’t up to par? Stanley says that people who have trouble falling asleep, wake up feeling exhausted or experience a mid-afternoon crash are likely suffering from semisomnia. To improve the quality of your zees, take time to unwind before bed. Have a light snack or a cup of herbal tea, mist relaxing scents like lavender in the bedroom, make sure your phone is set to “silent” and steer clear of the internet or television.
2. Eat (real!) sugar
If you’re craving something sweet, don’t deny yourself what is usually considered a diet don’t. A recent study in the journal
Psychological Science showed that people who choose real sugar (as opposed to an artificial sweetener) experience higher levels of self-control, focus and productivity. Caveat: Before you inhale an entire Toblerone bar, you should know that the study found that only a “taste” of sugar is needed to experience the efficiency boost.
You can skip your workout, forget your vitamins and even wear makeup to the gym on the next page …
3. Skip your daily workout
We all have fitness-fiend friends who shame us in the exercise department, but overly vigorous work-outs may be bad for your health. A study from the british journal Heart found that excessive exercising—like frequent long-distance running—taxes the body, causing stress that can burn through antioxidants and lead to chronic pain or injury. While the limits of “vigorous exercise” aren’t clear-cut, Dr. James O’Keefe, lead author of the study and researcher at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, offers some advice on how to reap maximum benefits when
planning your workout schedule: Keep strenuous workouts to under an hour, listen to your body and swap out cardio for a gentler yoga class when you’re feeling sore.
4. Stop taking vitamins
Last year, Health Canada reported that most Canadians receive proper nutrients the old-fashioned way: from their diet. If you eat a relatively
healthy, balanced diet and take a multivitamin, you are likely getting twice what you need, says Dr. Diane Birt, director of the Center for Research on Botanical Dietary Supplements at Iowa State University. Overdosing on vitamins in the long term can cause health issues like kidney failure (too much calcium), dimin- ished bone density (excessive vitamin A) and heart disease (high iron).
5. Wear makeup to the gym
Stop eye rolling over that perfectly coiffed girl on the treadmill. While we’re not suggesting that you break out your Tom Ford lipstick before cardio, it might be helpful to pay more attention to your gym wardrobe and appearance. A recent study found that people who perceive themselves to be attractive perform better during a workout than those who feel self-conscious or unattractive. So, go ahead: Be the girl who primps pre-spin class.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.