The holidays are fast approaching and for many people that means a total change in routine: hectic schedules, late nights and get-togethers galore. For a lot of people, this throws off those much-needed sleep schedules and can lead to irritability and exhaustion.
We all know that sleep in general is so important – whether you only need 5 to 6 hours a night or that extra 8 or 9. While everyone differs in this, no matter how much sleep you get, you want to get GOOD sleep. No tossing and turning, looking at the clock every few minutes, dreading the hour when you must get up and do it all over again. A good nights’ sleep means total relaxation or REM sleep – the kind where you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on life’s challenges.
Here is how to get the BEST sleep during the busy holiday season.
- Take a “cool down” 1-2 hours before bedtime. Find the best way for you to unwind and prepare for sleep. Whether it’s reading quietly, watching a movie or spending quiet time with friends/family. Find what it is that allows you to decompress from the day’s activities.
- Food and exercise. Watch what you eat! This is understandably difficult, as there tends to be a lot more goodies to indulge in this time of year, but with discipline you can refrain from eating too much. Keep sweets to a bare minimum. And try not to eat at least 2 hours before you turn in. Drink lots of water and limit alcohol intake. Take a jog or hit the gym at every opportunity. At the very least, get a half-hour’s walk in, 2-3 times a week. Yoga is a great way to keep those muscles limber, while also calming the mind.
- Choose the right pillow and mattress! If you feel that old mattress is putting a kink in your back, time to get a new one! And if you wake up with a stiff neck, it’s time to think about getting a better pillow to better support your neck. A gusset design pillow is great for adding that extra support your neck needs, thus resulting in a better night’s sleep.
- Minimize stress. I know, this is easier said than done but it’s all about how you handle the stresses that come your way. Let the little annoyances of your day, roll off your back and know that you cannot control everything. When the demands of the holiday season weigh heavy on your shoulders, ask for help. You cannot do it all and recognizing this alone will give you peace of mind. When you hit that pillow at the end of the day, knowing that you’ve done all you can, it will help lead to a good night’s sleep
- Make your bedroom your “happy place”. If you haven’t already, make your room as comfortable and inviting as possible. Have comforting objects mingled about, so whenever you enter, you begin to feel calm. Many people use earplugs or turn on white noise machines to drown out any outside noises. Whether you prefer total darkness or need a soft light, use these to your advantage in your private space to help relax you.
Using any or all these techniques will ensure you have a happy, healthy holiday season!