For many, the holiday season is merry and bright, filled with days of seasonal films, delectable dishes and treats, and quality time spent with friends and family. However, packing all of this in can lead to a lack of quality sleep, which can turn us into the Grinch. Insufficient sleep not only has the potential to cause headaches, moodiness, daytime sleepiness, and a decrease in our mental clarity, but it can also increase your risk for developing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and certain cancers.
The solution? Prioritize your health and wellness this holiday season by ensuring you get the deep and restorative sleep you need. The National Sleep Foundation strongly advises that adults aged 18–64 get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Keep in mind, however, that these numbers may vary slightly depending on your individual circumstances. Factors such as mental health, daily energy expenditure, caffeine, and sleep-related disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can influence your ability to accomplish a quality night’s rest and your need for sleep.
Are you afraid of turning into the Grinch this holiday season? Here are some tips to ensure restful and restorative sleep and guarantee you get back into the holiday spirit.
The first tip to avoid any grumpy, antiholiday vibes is to stay consistent. Human beings thrive on routine, and when our sleeping schedule is thrown out of whack, it dramatically affects our circadian rhythms.
First, consider your work, school, or parenting schedule and make adjustments as necessary. From there, figure out a schedule that works for you and your daily needs, commitments, and habits, and stick to it. Whether that means you are early to bed and early to rise or late to bed and late to rise, ensure you get enough sleep to function properly and thrive in your current environment.
Create a Positive Sleeping Environment
Have you ever experienced a sleepless night due to environmental factors? It may have been caused by the temperature, light pollution, noise disturbances, or even the quality of your mattress.
Consider these elements when making adjustments to your sleeping routine. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a better mattress or black-out curtains. When sleeping, try setting the thermostat to 65 degrees—the ideal temperature for our bodies to relax, unwind, and prepare for deep sleep. Additionally, ambient or white noise could be the perfect addition to your bedroom environment as it is known to reduce feelings of anxiety and relax your mind and body.
Turn Off Your Devices
Electronics emit blue light, which can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm and lead to insomnia and difficulty falling/staying asleep. Consider turning off your devices at least 60 minutes before bedtime and instead participate in a sleep-inducing activity, such as controlled breathing or meditation and taking a warm bath or shower.
If you still struggle to unwind without engaging in a mentally stimulating activity, consider reading. There are many titles from which to choose, and this is the perfect time to educate yourself on a new area of expertise or explore your imagination. This is also a helpful tip for children and teens, as reading is essential to their mental growth and development. This might also be the perfect way to connect and spend some quality time together after a busy day.
It’s safe to say that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. From shopping to dining and get-togethers, there is always something in which to partake. The key is to learn to say “no.” Don’t overcommit yourself. Instead, prioritize your schedule and your mental and physical health and be more selective. After all, a well-rested you on occasion is much preferred to an exhausted you always.
On days where you feel tired or overwhelmed, clear your calendar and relax. Your friends and family will understand and likely consider you wise for taking your health and wellness seriously. Additionally, a lack of sleep can cause a hit to your immune system, making you more susceptible to catch and spread germs. By maintaining a healthy and refreshing sleeping schedule, you will be able to present the merry and bright version of yourself at any events you attend.
With an abundance of festivities, get-togethers, and seasonal specials, it’s all too easy to fall into bad sleeping habits. That said, if you take a moment to consider your individual health and wellness and follow the above tips, you can avoid turning into the Grinch this holiday season. All the Whos down in Whoville will thank you!