The holiday season is a wonderful time of year filled with joy, family, and friends. However, it is typically more stressful, more expensive, and busier for most, and these stressors are affecting our daily lives and our sleep.
Have a look at some of the most common ways your sleep can be affected that you may or may not have already known:
- Added Stress: Stress is a huge contributor to insomnia and sleep issues. If you feel stressed, you are more likely to have racing thoughts before bed, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Create space for yourself to meditate, exercise, or simply take a break from what is stressing you out the most.
- Holiday foods: The amount of unhealthy and sweetened foods consumed during the holiday season doesn’t help your sleep. Alcohol, turkey, and caffeine can cause you to crash earlier in the day, and sugary foods are sure to disrupt your sleeping pattern, too.
- Increased Anxiety and Depression: Social anxiety, holiday travel, and especially grief can intensify around the holidays. If dealing with any type of loss, allow yourself to participate in the ways that you can and don’t overload yourself. Avoid over-scheduling and take time for yourself when you feel anxious.
- Financial Stress: During the holidays, extra spending on gifts, travel, holiday dinners, and get-togethers can overwhelm people’s budgets. If you’re able to set up a spending plan, this may help keep your stress in check.
- Over-Packed Schedules: Commitments like parties, family dinners, volunteering, and more, can take their toll on you. Take time for yourself to restructure your schedule and allow for some downtime. Also, try to avoid staying up later than normal to get everything on your list done.
- Overexposure to Lights At Night: It’s no secret that light exposure makes it harder to fall asleep. Shut off all indoor lights and decorations before bed, and if the bright lights outside are hard to avoid, use black-out curtains so the lights don’t find their way into your bedroom.
- Family Issues: Though they may be prevalent all year, the holidays force people to see each other more than they normally would. These get-togethers can dredge up old arguments or unresolved issues, resulting in major anxiety and stress. Although not every situation should be avoided, it is best to surround yourself with those that you enjoy spending time with. Set some boundaries for yourself.
- Travel: If you are traveling to see friends and family, especially in different time zones, jet lag can come into effect. Allow yourself enough sleep before you travel and maintain your bedtime routine wherever you are this holiday season. Research suggests adjusting your schedule as soon as you arrive at your destination so that you can recover from desynchronosis, the technical term for jet lag, more quickly.
The holiday season is a busy time of year, and even if you are prepared and ready, it can be easy to become overloaded and overtired quickly. Allow yourself some downtime, stick to your sleep schedules, and avoid any additional stress that you can. You will be sure to enjoy the holidays a lot more if you are well-rested and rejuvenated.