Getting enough sleep is important at any time of year — but there is no denying that the holiday season can throw off your normal sleep routine. While this is a time that is eagerly anticipated by many (particularly young children eager to see their presents), the stresses of the season can also make it harder to get the full night’s rest that you need.
By understanding seasonal factors that can negatively impact your sleep and taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene, you can get plenty of rest so that your holidays can be merry and bright!
How the Holidays Can Impact Your Sleep
The holidays can throw your normal routine for a loop, which can quickly have a negative impact on your sleep. Many people consider the holidays to be the most stressful time of year — and stress and anxiety are known contributors to sleep problems such as insomnia, which makes it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Common contributors to holiday stress include the financial stress of buying gifts for family members — not to mention the rush of trying to find gifts for everyone before Christmas arrives. Many people also find themselves with a much busier than normal schedule, with family dinners, work parties, and other events that can throw off their normal bedtime routine. Parties that go extra late can cut into your available sleep time, adding to your sleep debt.
Those holiday gatherings can also be the source of plenty of foods that mess with your normal sleep habits, such as turkey, sugary cookies, and alcohol. Consuming high quantities of these foods, particularly before bedtime, can make it much harder to fall asleep quickly.
Then, of course, there’s holiday travel. Jet lag can also disrupt your normal sleep routines when you switch time zones to visit family or friends. Sleeping in an unfamiliar place — like an uncomfortable guest bed — can also make it harder to get in a good night’s rest.
Even your holiday decorations can throw off your sleep schedule. If you have bright lights or a display that plays music right outside your bedroom window, the light and noise could make it harder to fall asleep.
Helpful Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress
While there are plenty of potential sources of holiday stress, the good news is that they can all be managed in a way that limits their negative impact on your sleep.
If shopping for gifts is a major source of stress, try to get your holiday shopping out of the way as early as possible. By getting this task out of the way early on, you won’t have to worry about it in the days leading up to Christmas. If finances are a concern, consider speaking with family members to set a stricter budget for gift giving this year.
Rather than let yourself get overbooked with holiday activities, be mindful of your time. It’s okay to say no to certain events so that you can have some time when you can just sit back and relax. Focus on the activities that are the most meaningful (and that are least likely to mess with your sleep routine). When attending such events, try to avoid foods and drinks that you know disrupt your sleep.
If you still find yourself struggling with seasonal anxiety and stress, consider mindfulness activities such as meditation or yoga. It may also be helpful to schedule an “off” day when you take a step back from the holiday hustle and bustle.
Improving Your Sleep Hygiene
Taking steps to improve sleep hygiene can also go a long way in improving holiday sleep, regardless of whether you’re staying home or traveling.
Try to follow your normal bedtime routine as much as possible. This means going to bed at the same time you normally do, and following your standard pre-bedtime activities (such as showering, brushing your teeth, journaling, and so on). As with any other time of year, you should try to limit screen time before bed.
You can also improve your bedroom environment by blocking light and sound. For example, you could hang blackout curtains in your windows to block the light from your outdoor decorations. While traveling, using ear plugs and an eye mask at night can help reduce sleep disturbances.
Enjoying outdoor activities such as walks, ice skating, or taking the family for a sledding trip can also make it easier to fall asleep at night. Healthy exercise and exposure to natural light during the day will improve your body’s circadian rhythm while also helping you feel more tired once bedtime arrives.
By getting enough sleep throughout the holiday season, you will be less stressed and have more energy for the activities and people that you love.
Sleep Better This Holiday Season With Help Medical Supplies
If your sleep troubles are caused by sleep apnea, fatigue and exhaustion can become much more than just a seasonal issue. Making use of a CPAP machine will go a long way in alleviating sleep apnea symptoms, but for many, the cost of this medical equipment makes this easier said than done.
This is where Help Medical Supplies can make a difference. In addition to offering CPAP equipment from leading brands at discounted prices, we also provide free shipping on all orders $89 and up. Interest free financing is also available on orders $500 and up through CareCredit.
With the right medical equipment to improve your sleep quality, you can get the rest you need to feel jolly and energized for all your holiday festivities.