The holidays tend to be a time when we indulge ourselves. We eat big meals, drink convivial beverages, set out bowls of candy, and often stay up way too late. In the past, that might have meant making the rounds at parties. This year, it might mean curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and binging your favorite show. Any time you make changes to your sleep schedule, however, you could see changes to your wellbeing, causing your entire holiday season to feel enjoyable.
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Here in the winter of 2021, it's as good a time as any to be aware of how your habits could be impacting your health over the holiday season.
Sleep Tip 1: Stick to Your Sleep Schedule
During the rest of the year, our jobs and responsibilities tend to keep our schedules on track. That includes the hours that we sleep. During the holiday months, though, when we are more prone to work different hours or take time off work, we may find it more challenging to stick to a sleep schedule.
Evidence is clear that maintaining a sleep schedule is the best way to guard your rest.
Sacrificing quality sleep for a few more hours of fun isn't worth it. You'll likely be crankier and unable to fully enjoy the festivities. Whether you're less tired or more tired, train your brain to stick to its normal sleep/wake cycle. That way, you won't miss out on quality sleep and quality time with your loved ones.
Sleep Tip 2: Maintain, Don't Gain
One of our favorite aspects of the holiday season are the meals, treats, and snacks that we enjoy this time of year. If you want to sleep well, however, you'll want to avoid piling up your plates too high over the holidays. Maintaining your current weight will go a long way toward helping you guard your rest.
This has little to do with an ideal body size and more to do with giving your body the consistency it needs to ensure a good night's sleep.
Overeating can also lead to gas and bloating, which can make for an uncomfortable night. The same goes for indigestion and heartburn. So take care as you feast over the holidays.
Sleep Tip 3: Slip In "Sleep" Foods
Do you find sleep less than satisfactory over the holidays? It could be due to the nature of the food you're eating.
When you alter your diet, you may find your sleep suffer as a result.
The good news is that certain foods are known for helping foster a good night's sleep:
- Warm milk
Adding these to your meals can help increase the sleep hormones melatonin and serotonin and help you sleep like a baby this holiday season.
Sleep Tip 4: Find Warm Ways to Exercise
Though the temperatures are dropping, you can still find ways to move your body and stay warm.
Here are some fun, warm alternatives to exercising outdoors if it’s too cold:
- Stay inside and dance to your favorite song.
- Try a workout DVD.
- Walk or run on a treadmill.
- Join a local gym with fitness classes.
- Lift a few hand weights.
Exercise and activity during the day help move you toward a healthy mind and a restful night.
Getting your workout in at least an hour before bedtime can give you ample time to cool down and relax before it's time to slip between the sheets.
Your sleep doesn't have to suffer during the holidays.
Maintaining your diet, your sleep schedule, and your exercise routine are critical to keeping your rest undisturbed.
Just don't stay too rigid to your schedule. It's as important to adapt to our environment as it is to maintain, so work on achieving a balance between eating what you love and what you need while finding a sleep pattern that fits into your plans.
A bit of flexibility can do wonders for your stomach and your sleep this holiday season.