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Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

Sleeplessness is a surefire way to break down your body's defenses against stress. In fact, not getting enough sleep is an "accelerator" toward mental illness, says Dr. Emmons. Best to get seven to eight hours a night. istockphoto

No matter how dedicated you are to getting your shut-eye, sometimes a less-than-stellar night's sleep is inevitable. The good news: "One bad night's sleep isn't going to hurt you long term," says Dr. Joyce Walsleben, coauthor of A Woman's Guide to Sleep. But it can make you feel not so great the next day.

Luckily, there are ways to feel normal (or very close!) after a rocky night's rest. From our friends at, here are the secrets...

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Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

Weekend or "let-down" headaches can happen when you take a break from your routine, says Dr. Alexander Mauskop, founder and director of the New York Headache Center and co-author of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Migraines." Ease into the change by keeping your sleep time as normal as possible - you'll end up feeling more rested than if you stay in bed until noon.More from The 5 kinds of headaches istockPhoto

Open your shades

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A big dose of sunshine is the first thing you'll want to try. "Natural light resets your body clock, helping you function better all day," Walsleben says. "Even the low light on a cloudy or rainy day wakes you up better than any indoor bulb."

Early-morning sunlight is best for helping you start the day feeling rejuvenated. To perk up fast, open your shades as soon as you get up.

More from 7 tips for the best sleep ever

Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

Evidence suggests that eating a low-potassium diet is associated with increased blood pressure and that potassium seems to help protect the heart from damage caused by high blood pressure. Can eating more bananas and other potassium-rich foods lower blood pressure? Evidence suggests the answer to that question is yes, though Dr. Woolf says more research needs to be done to confirm that. istockphoto

Grab the right eats

eating, banana, boy, electrolyte, potassium, afro, stock, 4x3"When we're tired, our instinct is to reach for sugary foods for a quick rush," says Samantha Heller, RD, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut. "But those foods make your blood sugar spike and crash, setting off a roller coaster of energy highs and lows."

For lasting energy, start your day with healthy protein and whole-grain carbs, Heller says. Try a whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter and a sliced banana.

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Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

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No time for a nap?

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The ideal remedy for the mental fatigue that occurs after sleep loss is an afternoon nap, says Dr. Matthew Edlund, author of The Power of Rest.

But since that's not possible for most people with jobs, the next best thing is a form of active rest called "paradoxical relaxation." Dr. Edlund explains: Focus on one muscle group in your body for at least 15 seconds, concentrating only on how it feels and nothing else. Repeat up and down the body. Surprise - you feel recharged.

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Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

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Drink your coffee nice and slow

No need to gulp down that morning brew: Pour it into a thermos and sip slowly enough to make it last most of the workday.

People who consumed the caffeine equivalent of just 2 ounces of coffee per hour still got a kick, according to a study in the journal Sleep.

Just cut off the java by 3 p.m., or you may have trouble falling asleep that night.

More from 7 tips for the best sleep ever

Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

Housekeepers who were told that their cleaning was good exercise lost weight and were healthier four weeks later than those who were told nothing, according to a study in Psychological Science. Take note of all your daily activities (taking the stairs, walking to lunch), and you're bound to do them more.More from The 7 best fat blasters istockphoto

Take a walk to wake up

The time of day when the sleep-deprived drag the most is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., says Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan.

If you find yourself yawning through afternoon meetings, try stepping out for a 10-minute walk. "Movement boosts core temperature and stimulates the heart, brain, and muscles, preventing a slump," Breus says.

Even pacing around your office will help kick your body back into gear.

More from 7 tips for the best sleep ever

Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

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Go to bed on time

The evening following a rough night's sleep, you'll feel most refreshed if you hit the sack close to your usual bedtime.

Instead of sleeping right after dinner, go to bed no earlier than an hour before your normal bedtime and wake up no later than an hour past your normal wake time to catch up without overdoing it.

More from 7 tips for the best sleep ever

Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

If you've made smart choices so far, don't get tripped up by the beverages or after-meal choices. In fact, choosing to drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages may trigger heartburn no matter what you eat. The National Heartburn Alliance recommends mineral water as your safest bet; even nonalcoholic wine or beer can pose an intermediate risk. When choosing dessert, avoid chocolate (apple pie may be your best bet), and don't follow your meal with a cigarette - a well-known heartburn trigger. A post-meal walk is probably better than a nap, and when you do hit the pillow, make sure to sleep with your head elevated 6 to 8 inches to curb acid reflux. More from 13 foods that fight acid reflux istockphoto

Hang around the water cooler

water, woman, drinking, istockphoto, 4x3Sleep deprivation can mildly dehydrate you, even if you're not suffering from a happy-hour hangover. And dehydration actually compounds fatigue, Breus says - so sipping water will help lessen sleepiness. Drink enough so you're not thirsty and you have clear-ish urine, Breus recommends.

Another trick: Throw in a few ice cubes. "Unlike warm drinks, which tend to relax you, cold beverages can increase alertness because they are more refreshing," Kennedy says.

More from 7 tips for the best sleep ever

Sleepless night? How to fake a good night's rest

Is there such a thing as over-exfoliating your face? How often should I be scrubbing? Yep. Too much causes irritation, stinging, breakouts. Limit exfoliating to once a week with a gentle scrub (not too hard!) and moisturize. - Dr. Hirsch istockphoto

Want to look rested?

washing face, exfoliate, scrub, clean, stock, 4x3Wake up your skin with a gentle exfoliating cleanser

"The slight scrubbing action encourages cell turnover," says Boston dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch. "Plus, you'll smooth your skin, making you look immediately fresher."

De-puff your eyes

Start with a few splashes of cool water, and then apply an eye cream with caffeine "to further constrict blood vessels and reduce the appearance of swelling," Dr. Hirsch says.

Add some color

Before applying makeup, slather on a bronzing gel, which has a dose of tint built in. "The touch of color adds radiance," Dr. Hirsch says.

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