We are in the middle of the holiday season and for many of us it is a time of joy, comfort, family, traditions and fun. But, for some, it
also means late nights, less sleep, spending too much, trying to do it all, getting crazed over small details and not taking enough or any time to relax. This generally takes a toll on our holiday spirit and may cause a case of the “bah humbugs.”
In addition to the suggestions we offered last year in, Sleep for the Holidays, here are a few more tips to help brighten your holiday spirit, aid in relaxation and manage those bouts of poor sleep:
- Keep a consistent wake time: Sleep schedules become hectic during the holidays, and late night holiday parties and gatherings tend to skew our patterns. Sleeping in can make it harder to fall asleep the next night and then things tend to snowball. In fact, according to Wendy Troxel, clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist, “wake time is the single most important factor that sets our internal biological clocks – scientists have demonstrated that keeping our schedules in sync with our biological clocks is critical to maintaining optimal health.”
- Allow for 10-15 minutes of “worry time”: This may sound strange, but fitting this in at least an hour before bedtime may actually help ease your mind. If you give yourself time to think about your to-do list, write things down and work through problems, it is less likely to disrupt you in the middle of the night. Supposedly, this can actually condition your brain that the time to worry is over when bedtime arrives.
- Limit alcohol consumption: There’s nothing wrong with partaking in a holiday toast or the traditional glass of eggnog, but just don’t overdo it. This can be difficult with all the opportunities to indulge during the holidays, but excess alcohol can stir up a pretty nasty cycle of sleeplessness. Contrary to popular belief, a nightcap actually causes a disruption later on in sleep, even if it initially helps one fall asleep. Indulge wisely and moderately.
- Take deep breaths: Deep, diaphragmatic breaths are calming and activate the nervous system to bring homeostasis back to the body. When you feel on edge or restless, take a few deep breaths (or more). You will be amazed how soothing and stress relieving it can be. It’s also a good plan of action to take a deep breath before reacting, especially when you are in a sour mood or under a lot of stress. Additionally, deep breaths work in conjunction with the NightWave Sleep Assistant.
For more tips and ideas, see Wendy Troxel’s article titled, How to Sleep in Heavenly Peace This Holiday Season.