Following some general sleep rules of thumb will help you survive the holiday season without becoming exhausted and run down. Practicing good “sleep hygiene” is not only beneficial during the added stress of the holidays, but all year long.
Stick to a sleep routine: Try to go to bed each night at the same time and get up at the same time every morning. With holiday events and parties, going to bed the same time might not always be possible. There are always exceptions. If you find yourself going to bed a bit later some nights, still try to wake up at the same time. You might feel more tired, but try to stick to the routine as much as possible.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol: Although alcohol is considered to be a sleep inducer, consumption of alcohol actually increases non-REM sleep which can lead to reduction in overall sleep time. As the alcohol metabolizes, body temperature increases and hormones are released. This causes disturbances in sleep. Try not to overindulge in alcohol during the holiday season, specifically closer to bedtime.
Make your bedroom your sanctuary: Creating a relaxing, peaceful environment will contribute to better sleep. Your bedroom should have a low-noise level. Closing the blinds, having comfortable pillows and bedding and setting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature will help contribute to a more restful sleep. Giving your body a chance to wind down before bed, will also help. If the holiday season brings travel, try requesting a hotel room away from the elevator or any community spaces such as the pool or dining area or try downloading a white noise app to drown out noises.
Don’t eat or drink caffeine close to bedtime: Eating and/or consuming caffeine close to bedtime can disrupt sleep. Our body is fueled through food and drink. If your body is working hard to process a heavy meal or caffeine, it is not working as hard to get rest. These items can also cause other issues that can affect your sleep such as, heartburn, asthma complications and weight gain. Try not to overindulge in rich foods during the holiday season and eat at a reasonable hour.
Stick to your exercise routine: This can be hard with the added responsibilities during the holiday season, but sticking to your fitness routine will help with better sleep. Regular exercise can help reduce stress, which is always more prevalent during the holidays. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime to allow your heart, brain and muscles a chance to return to normal.