It can never be overstated: sleep is essential to our health and our well-being. And that’s especially true during the holidays, when we tend to get more stressed and busy. Here are a few tips to help you get enough sleep so you can recuperate.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule
It’s certainly not easy to maintain regular sleep hours during the holidays, when many social events will likely disrupt your schedule. It’s important, however, to try and stay on course as much as possible to avoid upsetting your body clock. Try as best you can to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This will help regulate your sleep and restore your energy, so you’ll feel much more vigorous and up to the festivities. Also, it will be much easier to get back to your regular routine after the holidays. If you’re having trouble sleeping, ask your pharmacist for help.
Today’s sleep specialists agree that naps are essential as they rise from a natural physiological need triggered by our body clock. Studies show that daytime naps can be very beneficial as they reduce stress, improve memory function and concentration, and balance our nervous system. Adults can use naps to make up for lost sleep caused by late or restless nights. Over the holidays, a short afternoon nap could allow you to enjoy the party longer. There are, however, a few things to consider: don’t nap longer than 30 minutes and don’t nap after 3 p.m., as that can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Regular exercise can improve sleep. That’s because exercise releases endorphins, naturally produced by the body. It also synchronizes the body clock, facilitates sleep and leads to deeper sleep. Finally, exercise helps stabilize weight. Weight gain can disturb sleep because it can cause snoring and respiratory problems during the night. So take advantage of the holidays to be more active! Take a walk in the snow or dig out your skis, snowshoes or skates. Be careful not to exercise too late especially during the hour just before sleeping because the high can keep you awake.
Don’t drink too much
Alcohol is sleep’s false friend. While it may seem that drinking a glass or a few glasses will help you fall asleep, alcohol actually disturbs the second stage of sleep. Alcohol, especially in large quantities, will affect the different stages of sleep, causing you to wake up often during the night or to wake up in the very early hours and not being able to get back to sleep. Alcohol consumption can also lead to sleeping disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea and snoring. It’s best to moderate your consumption of alcohol over the holidays to ensure restful, restorative, sleep-filled nights.