Waking up refreshed during the holiday season may seem like a far-off dream, but there are ways to make it a reality. Sleep plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, such as immune health, memory storage, brain function, and hormone regulation. Most adults should aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
How to sleep better and longer
Some of these tips may seem difficult to implement at first, but all you need to do is start! Begin by making small, attainable changes and build from there.
- Put down the phone: blue light from electronic devices can negatively affect sleep duration and quality. Try to avoid looking at screens two to three hours before bed. Start by replacing a screen with a book 30 minutes before bed.
- Reduce caffeine intake: while you may want to partner with a few cups of coffee to get through your holiday to-do list and packed schedule, too much caffeine can leave you feeling jittery late into the night, making you more tired the next morning. Try to limit caffeinated beverages to just the morning and reach for caffeine-free options six hours before bedtime.
- Increase movement: adding exercise to your routine can have a positive effect on sleep as it gives your schedule a structure while also combating holiday-induced lethargy. As a bonus, exercise can also be beneficial for reducing stress, as working out can release endorphins (the feel-good hormone).
- Be consistent: waking up and going to bed at the same time every day can help you feel rested in the morning. Our bodies love consistency, and sleep is no different.
- Establish a nighttime routine: having a system of habits before bed can help you feel tired and ready for sleep. Start to figure out what your bedtime routine looks like and try to stick to it daily.
- Try sleep aids: some natural sleep aids include melatonin, lavender, and teas with valerian root or chamomile. Talk to your doctor before taking any sleep aid or supplement.
How to reduce stress
During the holiday season, stress and sleep deprivation work hand in hand as they try to sabotage your holiday season. Seeing extended family, hosting, or traveling can all contribute to stress and take you away from the festivities. If stress leads to sleepless nights, try these activities to calm your mind, and hopefully, address the cause.
- Meditation or yoga: embracing mindfulness through your practice can allow you to connect to your body and calm your spirit, even amid a flurry of festivities.
- Participate in joyful activities: think of your hobbies or activities that bring you joy and help you feel renewed, and intentionally include them in your schedule.
This season, try putting sleep at the top of your to-do list. By finding ways to reduce your stress, you can enjoy more of what the season has to offer.
This article was originally published in the Holiday 2023 issue of Live Naturally magazine.