The holidays are upon us. While this season is often filled with magic and joy, it can also be busy, making it difficult to get adequate sleep during the holidays. You are not alone if you feel like you spend the month of December running from one activity to another as you check things off of your list. This harried pace no doubt leaves you feeling tired and stressed. Now more than ever, it is vital that you get adequate sleep so that you can conquer this busy time with energy and happiness.
Here is what you need to know about ensuring that you are getting adequate sleep throughout this exciting time of the year.
Why Do the Holidays Inevitably Disrupt Sleep Patterns?
There are a number of reasons why the holidays can disrupt your normal sleep patterns. Even individuals who do not normally have issues getting a good night’s sleep may have problems feeling rested during this chaotic time. Here are just a few factors that may contribute to making it difficult to get the sleep you need during the holidays.
Despite your best efforts to keep everything low-key, it is easy to become overstressed during this time of year. In addition to all of the things that you need to get done to prepare for the festivities, many people also experience a great deal of financial stress. All of these worries can understandably keep you up at night.
‘Tis the season to overindulge. Sugar cookies with frosting, heavy meals with family and friends, and drinks out with colleagues can all add up to a restless night of sleep. This is particularly true if your events stretch too late into the night, interrupting your normal bedtime hours.
Anxiety and Depression
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), it is not uncommon for depression and anxiety to spike during the holidays. These mental health issues can be exacerbated if you are also dealing with family problems during this time of year.
How the Pandemic Affects Sleep and What Can You Do About It
The continuing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting nearly every aspect of life. Many people are experiencing a host of sleep issues as a result of the stress and uncertainty that the health crisis brings. Rather than fighting against the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, it is better to lean into it and use this extra downtime to get some sleep.
However you get your sleep, it is important that you make sleep a priority. The pandemic is understandably causing many people to experience increasing amounts of mental and emotional distress. A lack of sleep will make these issues worse. Research has shown that negative feelings are amplified when you are not well-rested. Similarly, positive feelings are suppressed when you do not get enough sleep.
Beat Stress in Order to Get Quality Sleep During the Holidays
So now that you understand the importance of getting enough sleep during the holidays, what can you do to ensure that this happens?
Avoid Heavy Meals Late in the Day
Realizing that this is easier said than done, it is a good idea to try to avoid eating heavy meals late in the day. With so many late-night holiday parties, it is easy to overindulge. Too much food may lead to indigestion or other stomach issues, making it hard for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Stay on Schedule
It is important to stick with your regular sleeping schedule as much as you can. Even if you are up late the night before, try to wake up at your normal time so that you do not have issues falling asleep the following night.
Engage in Relaxing Activities
This is a great time to launch some new rituals that will help you feel relaxed as you prepare the body for bed. Good ideas include sipping a cup of warm decaffeinated tea prior to bedtime, soaking in a warm bubble bath or starting a new book. Eventually, these rituals will send the signal to your body and brain that it is time to go to sleep.
Get Some Sun
One of the best ways to regulate your sleep pattern is to get some sun shortly after you wake up each day. This will help to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm to ensure that your body’s natural clock is functioning at optimal levels.
Take a Melatonin Supplement
Taking a melatonin supplement a few hours before bedtime can help to regulate the body’s natural sleep and wake cycles. Although there are many types of melatonin supplements on the market, find a high-quality pulsatile-release formula to ensure optimum effectiveness. This non-addicting supplement can do wonders in helping you to fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly through the night.
You will take a big step toward preserving your mental health during the holiday season if you are intentional about getting the right amount of sleep each night. While you may be tempted to try to cross one more thing off of your list each night, you will actually be doing yourself a favor if you try to get more sleep instead. Do not let fatigue ruin this wonderful time of the year.