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How the Holiday Season Affects Your Sleep

How the Holiday Season Affects Your Sleep

Vacation getaways and deserved time off work are just around the corner, and naturally, sleeping, overeating, and having a little too many alcoholic beverages may be high on your to do list. As much as we all love to overindulge every now and then, here are a few reasons why you may want to rethink some of your holiday habits.


Holiday Woes 

The festive season brings about time with family, friends, and lots of planning, and for some, this means a lot of stress and anxiety. This ultimately causes more disruption in your ability to have a restful night’s sleep.


Solution? Set up a natural sleep schedule. It’s best to take it easy and see how much sleep your body and mind need in the first place. Studies suggest that when you are in holiday mode, you should try going to bed at the same time every night without an alarm set for the morning. Your body will naturally adjust to how many hours of rest you need. So waking up naturally and without an alarm might be a good solution!


Booze snooze

Alcohol may play a detrimental role in why you feel more tired even with a full night's rest. We tend to drink more over the holidays. And yes, sleep and alcohol tend to mesh well, but usually only for the first half of your snooze. Once the second part of your sleep hits, the alcohol acts as a sleep disrupter that can kill the rest of your night.


Solution? Wait the alcohol out. If you’re having a couple more glasses of wine than what you’re used too. At least try waiting a few hours before hitting the hay. Your body will have more awake time to adjust and filter out the drinks in your system.


Overindulgent drowsiness

Ever feel bloated and sleepy after or even during a get-together feast? That’s because you’re probably consuming more food that has a lot of “sleepy” components. We’ve all been there with indulging in turkey, certain cheeses, dairy, and of course, pies! These are only some of the foods we see around holiday time that can make us snooze during the post-dinner chit chat.


Solution? Ease up on consuming high “drowsy” foods. Tryptophan and melatonin are sleep-inducing properties that are in foods like turkey, salmon, and dairy. So, we want to consume foods that have the opposite effect: alertness. To balance out the effects of tryptophan, studies suggest consuming foods with a low glycemic index such as whole wheat bread, sweet potato, corn, carrots, and peas. And you can sneak in some aged cheese, as it has stimulant called tyramine that helps you stay alert, especially for all those holiday catch ups!

 

References:

  1. https://www.rand.org/blog/2013/12/how-to-sleep-in-heavenly-peace-this-holiday-season.html
  2. http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/what-can-you-do/assess-needs
  3. https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2016-01-07/why-holidays-can-make-you-more-sleepy/7066752
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/avoid-drowsiness-after-holiday-feasts