The holidays are upon us and this means parties, family time and get togethers. Warm fires, scents of the season and the desire to show up to all the festivities can have some of us yearning for a more balanced holiday season.
What gives? Staying grounded and healthy is a common goal for most of us, but the holidays have a way of winning this balance battle.
Did you know it could come down to simple math? Sleep debt has us pushing our bodies and nervous systems to levels that often see us getting sick or overwhelmed. We lose two hours of sleep here, a few more there and all of a sudden over a three week period we are down 20 hours. A few too many late night drinks also have our sleep being unproductive and not as healing as it could be. The amount of damage can’t be easily quantified, yet I believe it can be minimized, by making calculated decisions and treating our sleep as the most important thing during the holiday season. We can add the necessary rest and sleep back in, to counterbalance the sleep debt created.
Go into this season with an action plan to win the sleep battle. Here are some ways to beat the holiday sleep debt:
- Try to keep a regular sleep schedule. Although tough, the closest you keep to it the better.
- Minimize alcohol and sugar intake late at night. These two party favourites will take you down and affect your sleep quality negatively.
- Don’t come home after a late night and then go to TV or devices. Your circadian rhythm will thank you.
- Take naps. If you can’t fall asleep, the focus on rest can be meditative and will have a similar effect.
- Let the world know that from November 25th to January 2nd you will be sleeping in a lot more, and that this is the new schedule. Not always possible, but if you can do it 5 times in the season, you’ve mathematically taken back 5 hours of lost sleep.
- Stay hydrated. I think I’m adding this one for myself. It’s really easy to become dehydrated at this busy time. Start the morning with a full glass of water and keep going from there.
- Have a delicious sleep environment. Good sleeps make your body happy and create a relaxed mind. Make your bed and bedroom a luxurious sanctuary.
- Share your sleep experiences with those around you. The more we talk and connect about sleep, the better we can understand that we are all not so different from each other. So let’s support each other in acknowledging the importance of sleep.
- Just say no. If you said no to two events or two late nights you could get back 8-12 hours. See how fast these hours add up?
- Cuddles and hugs. Lots of these, with our loved ones or a body pillow. Hugging and cuddling releases oxytocin (the happy hormone), which relaxes us and creates a feeling of calm.
Sleep is the ultimate healer and if we treat it like a loved one, it will give us so much back.
Have a wonderful holiday season and sweet dreams.