Don't be a Christmas Grinch! Follow these Holiday Sleep Tips
With all of the festivities and preparations that holidays bring, it's a wonder we get any sleep between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Most of us run ourselves ragged trying to cram as much holiday cheer into each moment as possible. We end up losing sleep, making us less Christmas cheery and a lot more Christmas grouchy. Don’t let the holidays rob you of that important slumber! Follow these simple strategies to sleep soundly through the holiday chaos.
Keep your regular sleep schedule as much as you can. It's easy to feel like it's worth it to stay up late during the holidays to catch up with old friends and family from out of town, but those late nights can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. it's okay to stay up a little late during the holidays, but try to limit it to no more than an hour off of your regular schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to mood and behavior changes, so if you don't want to turn into a grump, make it a priority to get some good quality sleep.
Keep nighttime snacking in check. When it comes to getting good sleep, too much of certain types of foods can keep you from sleeping soundly through the night. Food and drinks high in sugar and caffeine can keep you awake longer at night, and foods high in processed carbs can leave you feeling sluggish the next day. There's nothing wrong with having a small snack before bed, but stuffing yourself right before bedtime can make your body work harder to break down all that food as you sleep. It takes away from your body repairing and refreshing itself during sleep.
Stick to your exercise regimen. Routine exercise is one of the greatest promoters of quality sleep. While it may be tempting to take a few days or weeks off your fitness routines over the holidays, don't do it. Exercise is not only great for the body, but the mind as well, and it can go a long way towards reducing your holiday stress.
Shut off the electronics before bedtime. TVs, computers, cell phones, tablets, portable game systems, and other electronic devices emit a light similar to that of daylight. Our brains are tricked by the light: they associate it with daylight, which can cause a delay in the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. These devices often contain stimulating content that keeps us awake, as well. Turn off your electronics an hour before bedtime to get more restful slumber.
Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment. A quiet, dark, and cool bedroom can help promote sound slumber. To achieve such an environment, lower the volume of outside noise with earplugs or a "white noise" appliance. Use heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to block light, a powerful cue that tells the brain that it's time to wake up. Keep the temperature comfortably cool—between 60 and 75°F. And make sure your bedroom is equipped with a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Spend more time outside. The holidays are a great time to enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and walks in the brisk winter air. And while it's great for the exercise, getting outside into the light is also helpful for your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm reacts to the natural cycles of daylight and darkness and helps regulate your internal clock, which tells you when it's time for bed.
Your health and emotional well-being are your most important personal assets. Maintaining healthy sleep habits during the holidays can help you feel refreshed and recharged, so you can really enjoy the time with your loved ones.