As you know, the holidays can be a very stressful time for many reasons. Staying up until 1 AM baking, shopping at Target at midnight and wrapping gifts at 3 AM, are examples of how we alter our sleeping habits during the holiday season. These activities and changes to our sleeping schedule, can cause a significant change in energy levels. If you can maintain a "normal" sleeping schedule during this time, you will be better off. Getting enough sleep will increase your chances of continuing your normal gym routine and help keep the holiday calories off. Below are a few tips to help you get better rest during this busy season:
1. Spend Time with Family and Friends - Staying in touch with friends and family during the holiday season is a great way to decrease your stress levels. When mingling with friends and family, you forget about the terrible day you had at work or the fender bender you were involved with last week. According to a recent UCLA, women turn to other women to cope with stress.
2. Watch Christmas Movies - Christmas classics such as Home Alone, Charlie Brown, Elf and The Christmas Story, offer a great way to unwind during the holiday stress. These classic comedy's do a great job of getting your mind off of the "stresses" of you daily life.
3. Take a Quick Nap - Power naps during the late morning and early afternoon are proven to be an energy booster. Limiting your nap to 20 minutes or less will ensure that you do not enter a deep sleep state which is hard to fully wake from.
4. Go Play in the Snow - Getting exercise, specifically during the cold winter months, greatly increases your chances of having a satisfied sleep. Other fun outside winter activities include snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, etc. If you don't have the time to get outside during the day, hitting the gym will provide the same sleep benefits.
5. Avoid Screens Before Bed - Although it has become very common for everyone (including me) to use screens (TV's, tablets, phones, etc.) before bed, it is proven that this has an adverse impact on your sleep. If at all possible, try to avoid screens 1 hour prior to sleeping An alternative to using these electronics would be reading an old-school book (paperback). Likewise, people associate "screens" with work so it may be harder to wind-down after a "work-like" activity.
Feel free to share tips that you find useful during the holiday season in the comments section below.