During the holiday season, chances are you’ll hear a fair number of songs and stories talking about little kids staying up late to try to catch Santa. Most of us remember the excitement of waiting for Christmas morning as children — which often resulted in getting less sleep than we normally would.
While adults may no longer be so excited to wake up early and open presents, there is no denying that the holiday season can still result in getting less sleep than we normally would. Between parties and the stress of last-minute shopping and planning, there are plenty of things that can disrupt sleep. Unfortunately, that lack of sleep can leave you fatigued and grouchy — hardly the ideal mindset for enjoying the festivities with family and friends.
This is especially true if you already experience obstructive sleep apnea. Fortunately, by following a few “best practices” for getting more sleep during the holidays, this time can be truly merry and bright.
1. Plan Early
One big reason why people get stressed during the holidays is when they put off the items on their to-do list until the last minute. From shopping for gifts to preparing the holiday feast, letting these to-do’s pile up can leave you feeling overwhelmed as you rush to get everything done. Stress can leave you tossing and turning, unable to sleep at night.
The simple solution is to start taking care of your holiday to-do’s as early as possible. Make a list well in advance and try to work on each to-do when you are able. Of course, you can also ask family members to help lighten your load.
2. Schedule Your Worry/Planning Time
Even when you start planning early, it’s still normal to find yourself worrying about the next day’s activities and to-do’s during the holiday season. When this worrying happens at bedtime, you could be lying awake for hours.
You can avoid this common dilemma by scheduling in “worry time” or “planning time” at least two hours before bed. Even taking 15 minutes to write down what you need to do the next day and thinking through your plans can help ensure that your mind is free of these concerns by the time you slip under the covers.
3. Get Outside
Even though the outside weather can sometimes be “frightful,” this doesn’t mean you should spend all of winter indoors! In fact, getting outside during the winter can play an important role in helping you sleep better. Getting some natural light will keep your circadian rhythm on track so you can fall asleep faster at night. Sunlight can also improve your mood and reduce stress.
Exercising while you’re outside will improve sleep even more. Winter is full of fun opportunities for unique activities you can’t do any other time of year, like sledding, ice skating, and skiing. Of course, you can always go to the gym if you don’t want to spend too much time in the cold! Plenty of physical activity during the day will help you sleep better at night and avoid putting on extra weight from all those Christmas cookies.
4. Avoid Big Meals and Treats Near Bedtime
Speaking of Christmas cookies, holiday parties can make it quite easy to overindulge in sugary, fatty foods. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat, but when you eat too much late at night, it can also disrupt your sleep. This is because your body will divert the energy it normally dedicates for sleep to digesting all the food you ate instead. So, the more you eat at those late-night holiday parties, the harder it will be to go to sleep.
Alcohol can be especially problematic for your sleep quality during the holidays. The way your body metabolizes alcohol tends to result in sleep disruptions after you fall asleep, leaving you worn out the following day. By limiting your consumption of alcohol and unhealthy snacks during all your holiday get-togethers, you won’t just sleep better — you’ll also avoid gaining extra weight that you’ll then be trying to get rid of in the new year!
5. Stick to Your Normal Sleep Schedule
If you’re not careful, all those holiday gatherings can also throw off your normal sleep schedule, causing you to stay up much later than normal. However, sleep experts recommend that you try to stick to your normal sleep routine as much as possible, even during the holidays. Whenever possible, you should try to go to stay within one hour of your normal bedtime and wakeup time.
Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule helps keep your body’s circadian rhythm in check, so you won’t have as much trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Make sure your schedule allows for the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep so you’ll have plenty of energy for all your holiday plans!
Few Gifts Compare to Great Sleep!
In the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, giving yourself time to rest and get enough sleep can make a bigger difference than you might expect. You’ll have more energy and feel happier — perfect for all the festivities you have planned.
Of course, if you are also dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, you should make sure to use your CPAP machine each night so you can enjoy uninterrupted sleep. At Help Medical Supplies, we offer a wide selection of quality CPAP machines at discounted prices off of MSRP, so you can get the equipment you need, even if you don’t have insurance. Few things compare to the gift of quality sleep!