We’ve all been there. The house is a mess. There’s no groceries. And there’s a to do list a mile long running through your head. It seems like you’re just drowning. You’re just overwhlemed. Yep, you know the feeling. Because we’ve all been there. We ALL have.

When you’re this overwhelmed can be tough (really tough) to get organized and to get a plan. Am I right? Here’s some things that I’ve learned over the years to quickly to get out from under:

1 Make a list

Get everything out of your head. Every tiny to do item that you can think of.  I like to do this type of brain dump with pen and paper, but you can also do it digitally (for those more digital list makers, here’s my favorite apps for that). The goal is to get everything that’s taking up space in your head … OUT of your head. It also gives you a nice long visual of all the tasks at hand. I set a timer for 10 minutes and write down absolutely everything I can think of. No particular order and no categories.

2 Room to Room

You’ve got a fabulous list of a zillion things you need to do. So let’s add to it. Seriously. Pick a room to start in and walk around each room of your home, including closets. Can you think of anything else to add to your list? Does seeing …  oh let’s say that huge pile of dirty laundry remind you that you need to DO laundry?

I know you’ve got a list of probably a zillion things to do already. But remember, we’re not focused on accomplishing any of these things. We’re just focused on making the biggest master list you can possibly make. Plus, just because it’s not written down on your list doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get done immediately (re: laundry).

3 Organize

Now that you’ve got this absolutely scary crazy long list, we’re going to organize it. Organize it by category that is. Everyone’s categories will be different. My categories and explanation are listed below. Spend some time thinking about the categories that will be most helpful for you before associating a category to each of your tasks.

Out: Tasks to do OUTSIDE the house, which mostly includes things I need to buy or return. Currently on my ‘out’ list include taking my high heels to re-soled, grocery shopping, and updating my P.O. box for my blog.

Home: Tasks I need to do at home, without my computer (ex, water plants, clean dishwasher (yes, I actually do this), do laundry).

Call: appointments I need to make over the phone.

Computer: Tasks that need to be accomplished on my computer as opposed to my phone. I try to tackle as many online tasks on my phone as possible. With a 7-month-old, it’s much easier to get to my phone instead of pulling up my computer. Yet sometimes it’s easier to do online work on my computer. For example, banking and bill related items I prefer to do from my computer. You may not need to have a separate smart phone & computer list, but it’s helpful for me.

Iphone: Like I mentioned above, I try to do as much online work from my iphone as possible. Things like emails, online research, scheduling social gatherings all happen through my iphone.

Joe: I keep a list of things that I want to mention to Joe (my husband). Yes, it feels slightly odd to have a husband category, but we’re both busy and well, I’m forgetful. Plus I love lists. So there’s that.

Next Month: Just like it sounds, stuff that I need to get to, NEXT month. These things will fall in to one of the categories above, but since I don’t want to think about it until next month, I keep it in the ‘next month’ category.

Later: Similar to the ‘next month’, this is for tasks that I want to accomplish later on, whether a couple months from now or a year from now. The goal of this category is to get ANY tasks out of my head and on to a list.

4 Prioritize

You’ve got a crazy long to do list that’s sorted in practical categories, you’re probably wondering when the h*ll am I going to get this all done? Well you’re not going to do it all at once. Especially considering some tasks on the list are more urgent and important than others.

Prioritizing can take several different formats:

  1. Picking a date that each to do item needs to be accomplished
  2. Ranking each item on a scale of importance (A-C, 1-3) where you only accomplish the most important items first before moving to the next ‘level’.

I utilize the first option and pick a date to accomplish each task. Sometimes the task doesn’t get accomplished when I want, but in general this format works best for me.

5 Deadlines

Now let’s get real. When are you actually going to get the work done? Remember, most tasks don’t need to be accomplished immediately, but all of them do need a deadline.

One suggestion I always give is to NOT be too ambitious. When I overestimate how much I can get done in a day and realize I didn’t accomplish what I wanted, there’s a huge sense of frustration and disappointment. I’m one of those people who just LOVES to cross things off a list. Be practical and realistic about what you can accomplish in any given day.

6 Reality 

So life happens. Lists get made and lists get forgotten. Or missed. Or intentionally ignored. Because you’re completely overwhelmed. All is OK. If you find your list getting out of control, don’t stress. Grab a seat, a nice glass of wine and re-evaluate step 4 and 5. Priorities change. Fire drills happen. Your list was written in pencil not pen (or a very editable online tool). It was made to be edited.

 

Love these tips? Don’t forget to pin it for later!

 

 

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Tis the time for lots of presents and parties, right? I don’t know about you guys, but my holiday to-do list is about a mile long (and growing by the minute). I shouldn’t be surprised as it’s like this each and every year. Making lists of presents to purchase for friends and family, purchasing said presents, wrapping presents, and standing in line to ship these presents (Oh how I’m not looking forward to this one!).

These are the best non gift giving ideas for your family this holiday season. Awesome ways to show them you care without buying so many presents!

Now let me start off by saying I love buying gifts for friends and family. I spend all year coming up with fun and thoughtful gifts for those who are important to me. That said, we all know that I don’t like clutter. Yes, it does give me another excuse to organize, but in reality, I’m a less is more type of gal.  Too much stuff just sitting around our home isn’t good for anyone. So this year I’d like to DO special things for my family & friends in addition to giving special items.

With the addition of Declan, our 6 month old son, I’ve been thinking more about annual traditions and special non gift giving things that I want to do for our family. Things that will last well past the holiday season. Those things that will show my family that I care. Things that don’t involve so much stuff. Or things that we’ll remember far into the future. Things that will take care of my family for years to come.

Non Gift Giving Things You Can Do for Your Family During the Holidays

Start a college fund

Enjoying the present while planning for the future. Sending Declan off to college seems like an eternity. I’m still trying to baby proof our house and figure out which of the thousands of sippy cups on the market are right for him (#priorities). While 18 years is a long way away, it also can take a long time to save up for college costs.

So each holiday season instead of buying one too many presents for under the tree, I’ll add a little extra money to Declan’s college fund. When he’s old enough to understand what college is, we’ll talk to him about saving for college. It’s important to me to teach our son the value of a dollar and the concept of saving (oh and a clean house and an organized play room 🙂 ).

Insure your valuables

We often think so much about ‘stuff’ and loved ones during the holidays, but it’s so important to protect what matters most to you year-round. Whether your home, vehicles or all those furnishings that make your house a home, partnering with a team of people you trust to insure your belongings can give you total peace of mind.

The Cincinnati Insurance Companies creates that peace of mind. They’ve become a trusted partner with a network of agents who see your life the way you do there to protect what matters most to you.

Protecting what matters most is one of the best gifts you can give your family. This year, more than any year, I’ve learned that peace of mind is so important. While stressing about all the little things: from diaper rash to swaddling correctly (Joe is WAY better at this than I am 🙂 ), its reassuring to know that the truly important things in our home will be taken care of.

From Declan’s nursery that I spent my entire pregnancy designing or our redecorated roof deck patio where we spent the majority of summer evenings, it’s good to know the things we’ve worked hard to earn are taken care of. The Cincinnati Insurance Companies promises to protect those precious belongings.

The non gift giving guide to show your family you care!

Fun ways to celebrate Christmas: the non gift giving guide!

Create great experiences

There seems like there’s more to do around town in November and December than any other time of the year. From photos with Santa, tree lighting, parades, gingerbread displays, ornament exchanges … the list could go on and on. In years past I’ve often said no to too many activities during this season. It’s such a busy time of year and it always seems like there’s just too many events going on.

This being Declan’s first holiday season, I’m adding activities to the calendar like crazy. There’s only one first Christmas and I’ll recover in January.

Teach a new skill 

While I would never encourage anyone to take cooking instructions from me (#Imicrowaveeverything), I do think cooking with your kiddos is really awesome. Some of my favorite holiday memories are making holiday dinners with my family …. my Polish family always serves perogies on Christmas!

My husband is really great at fixing things around the house: installing new lights (in every single bedroom and bathroom), replacing the garbage disposal, problem solving the toilet drainage situation (enough said). I guarantee that he doesn’t enough doing these things, but they’re great life skills that I’d love Declan to learn.

Start a new tradition

I’m a sucker for annual traditions. Maybe it’s my extreme type A personality. Maybe my obsession with plans. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

Whatever the reason, I loved having our family traditions. The neighborhood 4th of July fireworks, Memorial Day parade, Christmas footed pajamas, and delicious takeout Chinese food the day after Thanksgiving (and a long day of shopping!) are traditions that I want my son to enjoy for years to come!

Non gift giving ideas for the holidays with your family! Non gift giving activities this holiday season!

Plan a trip

The rainy season in Seattle lasts up to 9 months each year. Saying that it’s rough is an understatement. We like to get out of the city at least once during the winter, ideally somewhere warm (and sunny)! Admittedly one of my favorite aspects of these trips is all the planning and preparation that goes in to a busy, activity filled vacation. (Is there any other kind???)

I’m excited to engage our kids in this. Both the planning and the fun of experiencing a new place. While Declan won’t be selecting the vacation on behalf of the family, it will be fun activity for him to participate in the preparation.

Charity work

Before we opened any presents during the holidays, our family would often volunteer somewhere. The location changed each year: soup kitchen, shelter, clothing drive. It was always a good reminder of how fortunate we are, not only for all the presents we were going to open, but for the roof over our heard.

Another good option is to teach your kids to donate to charity. How neat it would be to have your kids pick out a charity that they think is important. Then add money to a piggy bank throughout the year to donate all of it in December.

save money and skip the gifts with this non gift giving guide!

The holidays are truly a great time to appreciate all that we have.  To reflect on what’s important in life.

It’s also a great time to protect those prized possessions you worked so hard throughout the year to provide your family. Whether it’s your passion, your home, or your most valuable possessions, The Cincinnati Insurance Companies is proud to protect what matters to you. To learn more, contact an independent agent today!

 

 

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#advertisement I received compensation from Dr. Scholl’s® to write this post. All opinions are entirely my own. #CustomFitRelief #DrScholls

After our son was born, it took us a couple months get settled in to our new life: lots of sleepless nights, recovering from labor, and lots of trial & error on pretty much everything. After 2 months of parenting under our belts, we felt a lot more confident. While there were still so many things we were still figuring out, I was ready to get back on to a routine. Not necessarily pre-baby routine. I knew that wasn’t realistic, but instead looking to get more healthy and active. I was also experiencing some lower back pain, likely from being on my feet all day which is NEVER fun, especially with a newborn. Let’s just say the motivation was there 🙂 .

Getting a Routine

Yes, babies are totally unpredictable. Completely unpredictable. But after a couple months with Declan, I started to crave more structure and as much of a routine as possible. This will look different for each of us. Whether committing to go for a run each day, take a workout class that has a daycare option or power walk with a friend, I made sure that I had something on the calendar each day. This really helped in shaping our daily routines. Having the routine not only helped my mental well-being (I could only watch so much streaming TV  in a day), but also got me more active, too.

It was a game changer for me.

The Right Tools

Lower back pain was definitely draining a lot of my energy every day. Sleepless nights and lots of running around didn’t help either. So, I wanted all the right tools to help me get more active. I started using the Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotics. These provide immediate and all day comfort for your foot, knee, or lower back pain from being on your feet. Apparently, a lot of pain in the lower back and knees actually originate in your feet. Who knew? The Custom Fit® Orthotics give support and cushioning to disperse your foot pressure and reduce the pain-inducing stress on your knees or lower back.

To get the right orthotics for you, head to a Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® kiosk. Find one near you here. The kiosk uses over 2,000 pressure sensors to create your Custom Footmap – identifying your arch type, foot length and unique pressure points. In under 2 minutes, the kiosk evaluates all this data and recommends the Custom Fit® Orthotic Inserts that are right for you. Just slip off your shoes, step onto the kiosk and follow the instructions on the screen. Pretty neat!

Walk Walk Walk

Living in a city, I’m able to do a lot of my errands via walking as opposed to driving. This helps me squeeze exercise into my daily life — like going to the grocery store and post office — on foot. I walk everywhere I possibly can with Declan in the stroller. Not only did these short walks make me feel better, but they got Declan to sleep in his stroller in no time.

Before heading out the door, I make sure to slip in my Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotics Inserts. They’re comprised of 4 layers, each one provides a different benefit. Together, these layers provide support and cushioning to immediately relieve foot and lower body pain and provide you with all-day comfort.

Start the Morning off Right

Becoming a morning person has a whole new meaning with a baby! Even if my days get crazy (which always happens), I like to utilize my mornings the best I can. Once Declan started sleeping through the night, I began getting up an hour earlier than he does. I use this time to prep meals during the day, shower, clean the house, really anything on my to-do list. While I don’t love waking up at the crack of dawn (who does?), I’m going to bed much earlier than I used to pre-baby.

I’ve found that this time in the morning helped me so much get the day off to a good start. I was able to get all those little things accomplished that take up SO much time during the day while watching a newborn. An hour of uninterrupted time in the morning felt like 3 hours of time in the afternoon.

Drinking Lots of Water

Gone are the days of pregnancy small bladder. Thank goodness, right? Well I’ve personally never been great about drinking enough water. I too often opt for a cup of coffee instead. One trick that I found to help me: drink water each time I feed Declan. I keep a water bottle in his nursery for easy access.

Sleep

So to be honest, I never mastered the sleep when the baby sleeps. I hate naps. I especially hate napping when Declan naps because that’s when I get things done! We had a lot of help in the early months, so instead of napping throughout the day, I would go back to sleep in the early morning while my mom took care of Declan. So, no take a bunch of naps tips from me. But if you can sleep while the baby sleeps, more power to you! Our son ended up being a pretty good sleeper and started sleeping through the nights pretty early. The consolation was that he hated napping. Like mother like son apparently. I started following his evening sleep schedule and going to sleep shortly after he went down at 8pm. Yes, there were times in the summer where I would literally be sleeping before the sun went down, BUT …. I was getting a full night sleep.

It truly helped me feel rested for the day to come and as Declan got older (and sleeping later into the morning), I went to be a little later in the evenings.

Getting active does take a little bit more preparation, time and energy with a baby, but it can be done. See how Nick uses Custom Fit® Orthotics to keep moving with 3 toddlers. (Yep, you read that right – THREE toddlers!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpyoRGre7eg

Stay active without all that lower back pain – Dr. Scholl’s® Custom Fit® Orthotics are an effective solution for foot, knee and lower back pain. You can even try the Custom Fit® Orthotics risk-free, with the Dr. Scholl’s® Money Back Guarantee. Plus, save $10 on your purchase!

Find a Custom Fit® Kiosk near you at.

Any tips to stay active that worked for you?!?

 

 

 

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The leaves start falling off the trees, the weather gets colder and there’s lots of leftover Halloween candy to eat up. Yep, it’s daylight saving time. While I LOVE getting that extra hour back, the switch can really mess with my schedule. It’s amazing that one-hour change can take such a toll on us. For me, it’s not only the time change, but seeing the days slowly get short and nights get longer. I try to maximize daylight hours, even in the rain (hello Seattle!), while aslo getting use to that early evening darkness.

While we can’t control the ‘lights’ outside, we can control our lighting situation inside our home. We’ve been using Hive smart products for the last six months and reaping all the benefits: from saving energy that lowers our electric bills, syncing our Hive smart products with our Amazon Alexa, and changing the brightness & warmth of our lights straight from my phone.

Scroll down below for more details to get 10% off Hive smart products using the code: HIVELINDSAY10

The good news: You can take steps to help mitigate the effects of daylight saving time. These tips will help you do just that:

Change your clocks

Nowadays, most of our digital clocks on our electronic devices will do the time switch automatically for us. For those clocks with hands spinning around a dial or ones connected to appliances, remember to adjust the time backwards one hour before you go to bed!

Skip the naps

Avoiding naps is key for adjusting to the time change. It’s much better to push through the day and head to bed early in the evening. If you’ve got to take a nap, take them early and for no longer than 20 minutes.

Program your lights 

Beware, it’s going to get dark early. Coming home to a dark home is no fun at all. It’s also not very safe when carrying a little one in your arms. We set our Hive Door Motion Sensor to trigger our Hive Active Light to turn on as I walk through the front door.

As it becomes darker earlier during most of the winter evenings (even as early at 3pm some days in Seattle), we turn on more lights on within our home. Unfortunately, I don’t always remember to turn them off when I leave the room. Having a 3-story townhouse (and a little kiddo) makes this task a way more difficult. We set up Hive Active Light for all the main lights we use in our home. Now I can sit on the couch watching television and turn the lights off. Not that this ever happens 😊 .

Avoid coffee & alcohol

 

Stimulants like alcohol and caffeine interfere with our body’s internal clock, which is already going to be thrown for a little loop with the time change. Treat the time switch like a mild form of jet lag and avoid going for an alcoholic nightcap for a couple nights.

Now skipping the coffee is easier said than done for me. So instead of stopping cold turkey for a couple days, I cut myself off at least 10 hours before I’m going to bed.

Resist the urge to sleep in

So many of us see the extra hour as an excuse to stay up later and sleep in longer. Yet, sleeping through the Sunday morning sunlight can leave you feeling out of sorts for the start of the week.

Instead, try to get up at the same time. Use the extra hour to go for a morning walk (and enjoying the sunshine) or make a hearty breakfast.

I set my Hive Cool to Warm White Hive Active Lights to turn on at a low warm light about 30 minutes before my alarm goes off to naturally wake myself up. I not only love that I can adjust the schedule of our lights, but also adjust the warmth AND brightness! With all of Hive’s products, these work seamlessly with your Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or IFTTT.

Prepare your kids 

I never understood why my friends with kiddos hated daylight saving time so much. What’s to hate???? I now know.

This week leading up to daylight saving, we’ve been pushing back Declan’s bedtime by 10-15 minutes. We’re typically not super regimented on sticking to a strict bedtime, but I wasn’t messing around this week.

Pushing bedtimes meant also pushing naps back as well. To make this as easy as possible (and with minimal thought) I took a couple minutes to write out Declan’s schedule including wake up time, bed time, naps and feedings for each day this week taking in to account the daily incremental time changes. Plus, I just like schedules. So there’s that.

Make a list and check it twice

Here’s a list of some home maintenance things that we do twice a year at Daylight Saving:

  • Check your flashlights you keep on each floor of your home to make sure batteries work in case of loss of power. If you don’t already have flashlights on each floor, it’s a really good idea to have them, just in case!
  • Flip your mattress. To make sure your mattress wears evenly, you should flip it every six months. If you’ve got a pillowtop mattress, just rotated it instead of turning over.
  • Wash your pillows. Read the tag on your pillows for instructions. If you cut your tags like I do, wash your pillows in warm water and opt for the gentle cycle. Tumble dry the pillows on low heat, fluffing and turning them often.
  • Check your smoke detectors and at least once a year change the batteries in them if they’re running low. Also, check on the expiration date of your fire extinguishers.
  • Clean the oven. In preparation for holiday parties, make sure your kitchen is running in tip-top shape. Whether you’ve got a self-cleaning option or doing some old-fashioned scrubbing, you’ll be happy you got this task complete before the holidays.
  • Vacuum out your dryer’s vent. Lint stuck in the vent pipes, the space behind the dryer, is often the cause of dryer fires. There’s usually a crevice tool on your vacuum that can help you get the job done!
  • Clean the coils behind your fridge. To keep it running efficiently, use your vacuum’s wand to clean away dirt and dust.

I hope your daylight saving transition goes as smoothly as possible!

If you’ve been thinking about smart home solutions, now’s a great time to get one. As the days are shorter and nights longer, we use our Hive smart products even more often. Hive’s got you covered with several plans to choose from. The benefits for our family have been HUGE:

  • Easy, self-install approach (so easy, even I could do it!)
  • Low monthly subscription rates
  • Service features such as access to the Hive mobile app, on-demand customer service and ongoing warranty
  • Makes your daily life easier and a whole lot less stressful (never worry about whether you left your hair straightener on again!)
  • Unique features can double as a security system for your home!

*** Get 10% off your order with Hive using HIVELINDSAY10***

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hive. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

 

 

 

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I have received information and materials from ©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017.The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post. #ForBetterTomorrows #BetterTomorrows #FallBack #CollectiveBias

With all the joys of parenthood, no one mentioned back pain to me. Why oh why?!? I had no idea how common minor back pain was after having a new baby. As little Declan is getting bigger, I’ve slowly noticed the backpain more often.

While my days are busy running around with Declan and Reagan, I’ve been more intentional with my evening routine in order to get a good night rest. As daylight hours are getting shorter, I really don’t want to waste those few sunny hours I have because of a bad night’s sleep caused by pain. (Seattle + winter = lots of RAIN!)

To help me sleep while relieving those aches and pains, I use TYLENOL® PM at night before going to bed. Even though Declan sleeps sound through the night, I’m learning that life as a new mom means much less sleep for me. I still can’t figure that one out 🙂 .

Addressing the pain is important while also making sure I’m using every sleep trick I can think of to help get a good night sleep. Here’s my tips & tricks to….

Sleeping through the Night & Solve Back Pain

Stretching 

Stretching is always a good habit. Not only is it better for joints and flexibility, but it can also help with sleep. I make use of evening TV time and spend 15 minutes each night doing some stretches. Plus I LOVE feeling productive while watching some shows.

TYLENOL® PM

Before heading off to sleep at night, I use TYLENOL® PM to help me get a good night’s sleep for a full day ahead interrupted by pain. I love that it relieves minor aches and pains AND also helps me fall asleep. I keep my days super busy between Declan, Reagan and full time blogging so using a pain reliever that works while helping me fall asleep is a smart move. It’s completely non-habit forming (when used as directed)!

You can purchase by hovering over the image below.

Remember to only use as directed and always read the directions on the package.

Eye mask

While the winter days are short in Seattle, the summer days are quite long. I LOVE extra sunshine in the evening, but it can be tough to fall asleep before the sun goes down. I use an eye mask when I’m heading to bed a little earlier than the sun is 🙂 . I keep it next to the TYLENOL® PM in my nightstand for easys access!

Lights

Save the bright lights for the day time and either turn off the lights or dim them while you’re getting ready for bed. It’s hard on your body to go from bright floresent lights to darkness. Plus, setting the mood for bedtime will help naturally transition your body to prepare to go to sleep.

Technology

This one’s a tough one for me. I’m attached to my phone day AND night.  While turning my phone off in the evenings is the best option, it’s just not realistic for me. Instead I use the ‘Night Shift’ option found in the Displays & Brightness setting of my iPhone. This automatically shifts the colors displayed to warmer end of the color spectrum during the night. Even iPhone says it may help you get a better night’s sleep 🙂 .

Preparation

With the back pain I’m experiencing at night, the last thing I want to happen is to get stressed in the middle of the night about the next day. You know the feeling. You’ve got a busy day coming up and you wake up (or stay up) at night thinking about all you have to get done. Yes, sometimes this is unavoidable. Other times spending a little extra time in the evening can help prepare for the next day. At minimum, I try to always prep my lunch and outfit so that I’m not scrambling around in the morning.

Utilize pillows

When I’m ready to go to bed, I grab a couple extra pillows to use to support my back as I sleep. Laying on my back, I place a pillow under my knees for a little support at night. If I sleep on my side, I move the pillow in between my legs. This helps ensure I don’t wake up with sharp pains in my back from sleeping in a funky position.

Ice pack

I’ve always thought heat was the magic solution for any type of pain, but ice is what really helps. I make my own ice pack by simply placing ice cubes inside a towel & running it under the sink quickly before putting into a plastic bag. Ten minutes of ice on my back each night helps significantly. Once I’m finished, I place the plastic bag in the freezer so it’s ready for the next night!

 

Read a book

Ideally instead of being on my phone at night, I’m reading a book before I go to sleep. We all know that reading a book is a much better idea than scrolling through social media for a variety of reasons. I’m guilty of the latter a little too often. The less screen time we have immediately before going to bed, the easier it is to fall asleep.

Go to bed early

Last but not least: a simple trick – each night go to sleep just a couple minutes early. No, not when you’re jumping in to bed to play on your phone, but when you’re actually turning off the lights to go to sleep. Most of us just don’t get enough sleep at night, so do yourself a favor and slowly adjust your sleep time.

 

TYLENOL® PM contains a pain reliever and nighttime sleep aid. ©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017 The third party trademarks used herein are trademarks of their respective owners.

 

 

 

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