We love the holiday season when we are kids, but tend to dread it as adults. The holidays should be a joyous time to celebrate with family. But they often end up being extra work and more to do on top of our already hectic and busy lives. Don’t let the stress of the holiday season leave you feeling exhausted, and don’t lose sleep over the holidays. Keep reading to learn ways you can get better sleep during this busy time of the year.
Why Do We Sleep Poorly Over the Holidays?
It isn’t just about being too busy to get enough sleep during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It is also about how we feel when our head hits the pillow and how it affects our quality of sleep. Our brains get so busy over the holidays. They are filled with full calendars, to-do lists, travel, family get-togethers and so much more. We are incredibly susceptible to becoming overwhelmed, stressed, and even depressed around the holidays.
Ways to Reduce Stress to Improve Sleep During the Holiday Season
Don’t abandon your healthy routines.
When you feel the most stressed and overwhelmed is when it is of the utmost importance to stick to your normal, healthy routines. Of course, this can often be easier said than done. But don’t beat yourself up over one missed workout, late night or junk food session, and instead get right back on that horse and stick to it. You will feel better, more balanced and in control, which can really help with stress management.
Make time for yourself.
Yes, this can seem completely impossible over the holidays. But let’s face it, a little me time can go a long way into breathing peace back into our lives. So make time get your nails or hair done, get a massage or a facial, take a yoga class, hang out with a fun friend, read a book, go on a hike – anything that revitalizes your body and mind, helps you relax and makes you feel like yourself again.
Don’t say yes to every event and visitor request.
This one is a doozy for a lot of us. You want to help with a fundraising event at your kid’s school and you have that party to attend – oh, and that high school friend is going to be in town and what about that other party and the 27 presents you need to buy and let’s not get started on how many relatives are staying at your house. The fact is, you can’t do it all. This type of scheduling overload can be a prime culprit behind excessive stress and poor sleep over the holidays. So, start planning early for the holidays. Then make a list that you can look at to determine what things are truly the most important. Draw a line through the rest, forget about them and move on.
Tips for Getting Better Sleep During Busy Times
Try meditation to slow and calm your mind and body.
Some people prefer to meditate first thing in the morning. This is an awesome way to start your day with a peaceful mind and body. Meditating before bed is also incredibly beneficial. It is an exceptional way to get your mind and body prepared to rest. If you are unfamiliar with meditation and don’t know where to start, try a meditation app or just go on YouTube and search meditation. Body scan meditation can be a great place to start and some of these techniques even allow for you to be lying down, which can be an ideal way to help drift off to sleep.
Exercise, but not right before bed.
Exercise improves your health in so many ways, especially if you’re trying to reduce stress and improve
sleep. For instance:
- Working out gets your endorphins flowing, which helps you feel better, improves your mood and lowers stress levels.
- Exercise relieves stress by causing similar effects on your body to stress itself, interestingly enough. Thus, putting your body through a rigorous workout can actually help it process stress better.
- Exercise gives your busy brain a break. When working out, you are typically focused on the task at hand especially when you are doing yoga or intense cardio.
- Exercise boosts your self-esteem and confidence.
- All of these effects can calm your mind and help you achieve a more restful night’s sleep.
Turn off devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Scrolling through your phone or even watching TV stimulates your brain which can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Blue light negatively affects the production of melatonin in our bodies and disrupts our circadian rhythm.
- Choose some healthy screen alternatives. You can try some meditation or even just focus on your breathing. A cup of tea and/or a warm bath is a great way to end the day.
Healthy eating and drinking
During the holidays, of course it’s only natural to partake in some holiday treats and cocktails. That said, moderation and timing are key. Avoid eating and drinking alcohol when it’s getting close to bedtime. Eating especially decadent and heavy food close to bedtime can stimulate gastrointestinal issues, especially heartburn and acid reflux. While drinking alcohol before bed may allow you to fall asleep quicker, according to the Sleep Foundation, it is likely to cause sleep disruptions later. Also, you are more likely to feel tired the next day.
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Keep in mind, this is only a guide to help you improve your sleep during the busy holiday season. Start with one of these tips and see how it helps. Add another the next day if you need to. But don’t forget to breathe and be gentle to yourself. Being kind to yourself and indulging in a bit of self-care is one of the best things you can do to calm your brain and get better rest.
Don’t lose sleep over the holidays. Yes, this time of year can be exhausting, but it can also be fun and joyous. So, remember to slow down, take care of yourself, and enjoy all the season has to offer!