Most of the signs of exhaustion are obvious: You're likely well aware that shunning shut-eye can make you look and feel like a zombie. You'll also obviously have less energy, and you might find yourself being bitchy or overemotional, says Lombardo. Exhaustion can lead to arguments with your partner and the inability to finish projects at work. In other words, it puts you way off your game.
It's time to make chilling out a priority. "Right now, we give ourselves medals for the number of hours we spend working and not sleeping," says Lombardo. "Be proud of yourself for getting rest. Maybe that's not something you'd brag about to your friends, but when you're energized, everything changes." Start by taking these easy steps:
Choose to Snooze
Most adults should log seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Hit the sheets at around the same time each evening, says Sharkey. "If you vary your bedtime--even by 30 or 60 minutes--your circadian rhythms get out of whack and you'll feel like you have jet lag every Monday morning," she says.
Eat for Energy
Kicking off the day with a meal that lacks nutritional value--ahem, that sugar-packed muffin and latte--puts a dent in your metabolism and sets you up for exhaustion later, says Hedaya. Make sure your breakfast includes around 20 grams of protein and some healthy fat, both of which help keep your energy up. Try some peanut butter or a handful of almonds stirred into low-fat yogurt.
Get Your Head Out of the Game
No, meditation is not a New Agey time waster. An a.m. om session can be highly relaxing and may straighten out taxing mental disarray. "Meditating in the morning can help clear your mind so that you can then do things faster and with more focus," says Lipman. "You can actually end up with more time." Aim for 20 minutes of quiet reflection before or after breakfast.
Remember that achievement high? You don't need to log 18-hour days at work to find it. Outside hobbies and passions yield the same effect. "I call this creative compensation," says Mandel. "It ends up being restorative, because you are accomplishing something that's just for you." Think about what's appealing to you--cooking, writing, painting--and devote an hour or two to it each week. And try to surround yourself with pals who live more balanced lives and soak up their perspectives. Together, you can aim to ditch your exhaustion acceptance.
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