Alaska Sleep Education Center

Peaceful Nights This Christmas

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Dec 21, 2021 5:07:00 AM

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays can also be filled with stress,  busy schedules, and not enough sleep. Whether it’s shopping and wrapping, late-night  parties, or a pile-up of stress that’s got you feeling fried, these are some key ways to improve your shuteye during the hap-happiest season of all.

1. Prioritize The People You Love.

Having fun with friends and family members can be a great stress reliever, because it boosts levels of the so-called cuddle hormone oxytocin. So go ahead and make time to exchange gifts, reminisce, and catch up on everybody’s lives. 

But beware: All friends and family members aren’t created equal, and for some  people, family obligations can be one of the biggest sources of family stress. If      that’s true for you, try to avoid or minimize negative interactions, whether that      means avoiding that uncle who always fights with you over politics or staying at  a hotel (rather than crashing at your parents' or sibling's place) in order to give   yourself an escape from drama.

2. Don’t Procrastinate.

Shopping, cooking, cleaning, and all of the prep work that goes into holiday celebrations        takes time and energy. Put it off until the last second, and it can take a big toll on your          stress level—and your sleep. So make a list, check it twice, and start chipping away at your        to-dos now instead of waiting. Besides, you’ll avoid the most frenzied crowds and traffic and    you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor that much more if you aren’t exhausted when        the big day arrives.

3. Say No Sometimes.

Bake sales, gift exchanges, dinner parties—any one seasonal activity can be fun on its own.     But agree to too many and you can wind up feeling super tense. Be realistic about how much time and energy you have, and just say no before you end up pulling an all-nighter baking or wrapping presents.

4. Have a Good Laugh.

When it all feels like too much to handle, skip the glass of wine and grab a good comedy flick instead. While alcohol may seem like it helps you relax, it can actually disrupt your sleep during the night, making your zzz’s less restorative. Laughing out loud, on the other hand, can actually slash your levels of stress hormone, helping you to unwind before bed.

5. Give Yourself a Curfew.

No one wants to feel like a party-pooper. But the truth is that too much late-night fun can—       and will—wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. Your car might not turn into a pumpkin, Cinderella-style, but you’ll either pay the price in bleary eyes the next day or, if you catch up       by sleeping in, you’ll run the risk of tossing and turning the following night. So decide in      advance what time you’ll depart each holiday gathering, and then stick to your guns when the clock strikes—no FOMO allowed.

6. Take an Afternoon Nap.

Do late nights still have you feeling exhausted? There’s no replacement for a regular      sleep/wake schedule, but a nap can help you bridge the gap when it doesn’t happen.      Schedule it in the afternoon to take advantage of your body’s natural sleep rhythms. Twenty       to 30 minutes is all you need for a quick pick-me-up, but a 90-minute nap can be even more restorative if you have the time.

 

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Topics: stress, holidays, getting better sleep, managing stress

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