Holiday Stress and Tips for Better Sleep
The holidays are here!
Our favorite time of the year has finally arrived (sort of)!
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”! However, if we are not careful, the holidays can be consumed by stress, anxiety and sleepless nights. Without noticing, the time of year meant to be full of joy and happiness can negatively impact the quantity and quality of our sleep. Knowing how the holidays can create stress, we can take the necessary steps to remain in good spirits and in great sleep!
1) Christmas, Shopping and Other Commitments
Each year around this time, it is not uncommon to find ourselves experiencing heightened levels of stress. Whether from rushing to complete end of the year projects, late Christmas shopping (and wrapping), or the undo financial stress associated with gift giving. This combination of stress and anxiety can manifest itself in the quality of our sleep, resulting in a not so “jolly” feeling at a most inconvenient time. If you find yourself feeling this way, remember to ”gift” yourself some or all of the following: relaxation, time for self care, gratitude, joy, happiness and a great night’s sleep.
2) Social Jetlag
Circadian rhythm, or biological sleep clock, is what makes you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. During the holidays, family gatherings, social events, and late nights ringing in the New Year often represent a misalignment with our biological clock. This collection of activities is referred to as our “social clock”. A recent Sleep Review article highlights a phenomenon known as “social jet lag”. “When our biological clock is out of sync with the social clock (which is the timetable imposed on us by society) it can result in ‘social jetlag’”. Social jet lag can produce symptoms similar to those experienced by travelers: insomnia, tiredness, negative feelings, poor performance on mental tasks.
For some, alcohol is very much a part of holiday festivities. Whether it’s during social gatherings and parties or if you’re reaching for a ‘nightcap’, many of us fail to realize the extent to which alcohol can affect sleep quality. According to experts from the Sleep Review, alcohol is more likely to disrupt your sleep rather than to help you sleep. If you suffer from a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea, “alcohol is likely to make that worse too. It relaxes your muscles, making it harder for air to pass freely through your mouth and nose.” Alcohol is also a diuretic and besides having to go to the bathroom frequently at night, you are more likely to sweat and wake up feeling dehydrated.
So just stay home, don’t visit anyone and go to bed at 8 p.m.? No Thanks!
The Strategy: Sleep and be Merry
When staying up late during the holiday parties this year, remember sleep is still important to your everyday health! If you’re experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety during this time of year, try guided meditations before bed to relax your body and sink into a restful sleep. Experiencing social jetlag? Try to maintain a proper and consistent sleep schedule that works around your social obligations! Worried alcohol will disrupt your sleep? Be cautious of how much you’re drinking right before bed and hydrate, as alcohol can be very dehydrating. Moderation is key!
Sleeping shouldn’t be difficult, especially during the holidays. If the stress of the season begins to chip away at your merry mood, take a second and slow down. Remember what’s truly important and focus on that. Now go enjoy some eggnog (in moderation of course), wrap up those presents, remind your loved ones they’re special, and get the sleep you deserve!
Wishing you all a Happy Holidays!
– The Ohio Sleep Treatment Team
Interested in more tips for quality sleep during the holidays? Check out another S’News article here!