The Checkup: The Classic Cold-Weather Mistake That’s Ruining Your Sleep 

• If you plan on going home tonight and curling up under your giant down duvet, buttoned up in flannel PJs, with your thermostat set to a nice and toasty 71 degrees, you might want to rethink your plan: According to sleep researchers, one big mistake people make in the winter — that ends up screwing with their ability to fall asleep, losing out on valuable ZZZs — is getting a little too warm in bed. In fact, your thermostat should be set somewhere around a cool 65 degrees. [Byrdie]

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Eagles’ Brandon Brooks Opens Up About Anxiety Condition

Brandon Brooks. (Jeff Fusco)

Brandon Brooks. (Jeff Fusco)

When it happened in 2014, Brandon Brooks thought he just had an ulcer. But then it happened again in 2015, and now it’s happened twice in the last three weeks. The 27-year-old offensive lineman has missed four games in the last three seasons because of a last-minute illness that popped up on game day. Each time, he would wake up around 4 or 5 a.m., vomit uncontrollably for about 24 hours, lack the strength to even stand up and wonder what was happening to him afterward.

Now, he knows what the cause is. Read more »

The Checkup: The Common Fitness Gear Mistakes Sabotaging Your Workouts

• Trainers aren’t just looking at your form when you hit the gym — they’re also taking note of your fitness gear, including the mistakes you’re making that could be sabotaging your workouts. Think: wearing the wrong underwear, not paying attention to your shoes and going for a cutesy sports bra instead of a sports bra that actually works. Guilty? Same. [Well + Good]

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Stress Relief: People Are Paying Money to Smash Stuff to Pieces — Would You?

I had a friend growing up who would smash stuff whenever they got stressed or angry: windows, sculptures, electronics — you name it. Their parents were well off, so the items would always be replaced within 48 hours, with the same amount of fuss that goes into replacing an ink cartridge in a printer. When witnessing these outbursts, my first thought was always, Um, have you guys thought about therapy? And my second was, What a luxury it is to be able to smash stuff without having to wonder how you’ll live without it. And now, thanks to the latest trend in stress relief, folks can do just that.

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This Is The Best Thing I’ve Done for My Sanity This Year (And You Should Do It, Too)

In the middle of October, I stumbled across a deeply upsetting video on Science of Us that reported that more than half of Americans don’t take all of their paid vacation days. HALF. Doesn’t the thought of all those days going to waste — days that could be filled with day trips to farm-to-table eateries you’ve been dreaming about and hours spent putting a dent in the stack of magazines that’s gathering dust on your kitchen table, all while being PAID to not be at your job — make you shed a tear?

I shook my head when I saw this only to realize that I still had 10 of my 14 vacation days for the year to take. And it was nearly the end of October. I refused to be one of those humans who dumped their paid leave days into the very sad, overflowing (imaginary) landfill for wasted vacation days, but the thought of taking time off sounded more stressful than relaxing. WHO WAS GOING TO DO ALL THE THINGS?!

But then another sign from the relaxation gods came to me via my earbuds on a SEPTA commute home. I was listening to the podcast Girlboss (if you’re not subscribed, you should be), and this episode featured an interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter, who served as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department under Hillary Clinton. So yeah, she’s a boss. And she credited much of her success throughout her career to knowing when to drop everything and chill the f*$& out. She takes something insane like six weeks of vacation every year. That’s how important rebooting is to her, and clearly it pays off. (She also starts every workday reading fiction in bed for as long as it takes her to drink her first cup of coffee. She’s my work-life balance idol.)

With the exception of a three-day trip to New York for my birthday, I hadn’t taken the time to reboot for a full year. I got home from said SEPTA commute, screamed at my never-knows-when-he-can-get-off-of-work boyfriend that I was going on vacation, with or without him (can you tell I was … stressed?), then hunkered down at my computer, ready to scour the oh-so-overwhelming internet for vacation deals.

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The Checkup: Want to Instantly Increase Your Workout’s Calorie-Burning Powers? Do This

• The easiest way to up the calorie-burning powers of your workouts? Sip on some coffee or tea before you get your sweat on. Both contain bioactive compounds that up metabolic rate and fat oxidation, which, long story short, leads to you burning more calories after exercise and at rest. Uh, yes, please! [POPSUGAR Fitness]

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How to Stop Email From Driving You Completely Insane: Stop Being So Polite?

Email is like an annoying younger sibling. It’s constantly poking you and begging for attention, via alarming “ding!” and “swoosh!” sounds, when you are trying to focus on something else. Something that’s probably more important than the unnecessary “Thanks!” email that is demanding your attention. And no matter how much we all want to say “I quit this form of communication,” most of us can’t exactly do that. I mean, not if we actually want to keep our jobs, at least.

So, what’s one to do to keep from turning into ball of email-induced stress bigger than Aidan Shaw’s turquoise ring collection in season three of Sex and the City? Well, first off, stop being so polite — for your sanity’s sake.

Hear me out: In the past month, health editors at both The Atlantic and Men’s Health have written about how to deal with email so that it doesn’t put a huge dent in your productivity levels and drive you insane in the process. As The Atlantic’s James Hamblin says in his piece titled “How to Email,” “I don’t want to overstate the potential benefits of everyone spending less time and energy on email, but it would have health and economic benefits that would ripple across societies forever.” We agree — overstatement and all. And his suggestion for spending less time on email, and getting more work done and feeling more sane in return: Stop being so darn polite, essentially.

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