Sleep, Stress & The Holidays. How NOT to Be A Scrooge.
It seems like every Holiday season we are all sprinting to the finish line, that’s why for some the Holidays and stress go hand in hand. In fact, to cope with the stress or at least feel like they are checking off that Holiday list, many people start to skimp on sleep time replacing sleep hours with cooking, shopping, gift wrapping, parties, and family time.
How Your Sleep Schedule Changes
Remember it’s important to get enough sleep to keep our bodies in tip-top shape. That also means keeping you going during this party-filled season. During the Holidays there is a strong chance you are logging less sleep time due to stress caused by traveling, a disrupted routine, family gatherings, and even financial worries.
On the flip side, most people feel like they actually sleep better over the Holidays. With time off of work, enjoying gatherings, food, parties, and maybe even less responsibility can FEEL like you are relaxing. But don’t forget, these routine changes can also have a negative effect on sleep.
How Stress Affects Sleep
The Holidays create a different feeling for each person, for some, it’s a fun and exciting time but for others, this is the most stressful time of the year. This stress can seriously affect your sleep quality.
This study found that stress raises cortisol, which is extremely wake-promoting, which makes it extremely difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Not to mention, many people prone to stress tend to experience intrusive thoughts while trying to fall asleep which can be a cause of insomnia.
If you find that you fall into the more stressed category, it’s important for you, your sleep, and your well-being that you find ways to manage your stress. This can vary from person to person, but we have a few tips that can help.
- Try to avoid stimulants during the day, yes this means caffeine.
- Exercise causes endorphins, endorphins keep you happy. Exercise also helps to reduce cortisol, a common hormone that can keep you up.
- Take a mindful minute, especially before bed. Practice deep breathing to help relax.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep Over the Holidays:
- Try to Keep A Sleep Schedule.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even if this means staying up every night to binge-watch Holiday movies. If you do feel you need to nap, be strategic! Try your best to not give in to that nap after a big meal, digestion slows when you sleep which can lead to indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux that can wake you up. This is also a good reason to not eat too late at night. Remember if you do nap a 20 to 30-minute nap is best.
- Set a budget to reduce the financial stress associated with the Holidays.
Plan your spending ahead of time to make sure you don’t spend too much. Having the stress of gift buying done early will help you enjoy the Holidays much more.
- Stay with loved ones.
If you are traveling, it’s always best to stay with friends or family if you can. Being around familiar faces can help keep you calm and at ease.
- We know ‘Tis the Season… but watch how much you are eating and drinking!
Especially those holiday sweets. Ever feel like you crash after having too much pie? That’s because your body triggers a release of insulin to combat the spike in blood sugar, this clears glucose from the blood and causes that feeling. Plus, if you are eating sugar too late it can promote bursts of energy making it harder for you to fall asleep.
- WHAT you sleep on can seriously dictate your quality of sleep.
If you are staying home this Holiday season, you want to be sure your bedroom becomes your sanctuary to keep you calm and collected, especially if your family is staying over. Your mattress should be helping you get the best possible sleep no matter how many hours you are in bed. Essentia mattresses are proven to enhance the time you spend in Deep Sleep and REM sleep cycles by 20%! That’s huge, especially if you are only logging 6 hours of sleep a night. More time spent in these cycles helps your mind and body to recover from the day so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to Rise & Thrive!