Do These 6 Things In December, And You’ll Feel Rested All Month Long
Give yourself a healthy gift this season: Enough sleep! With our simple tricks, you will get enough sleep while still enjoying the holidays.
6 Tips For Seasonal Slumber
Between parties, shopping for gifts and family get-togethers, the holidays can leave you stretched for time and sleep. But making sure you get your forty winks is important to starting off the New Year on the right foot: getting enough sleep helps you keep your exercise routine on track and wards off weight-gain. Try these simple tips for getting quality shut-eye during the holiday season.
1. Spend time with your friends and children
Despite all the madness that surrounds Christmas and New Years, some holiday traditions actually help you get enough sleep: Celebrating and connecting with your friends and family is an effective way to de-stress, preparing you for a better night’s rest. Women who have healthy friendships and positive relationships with their children sleep better. Studies from UCLA researcher Shelly Taylor, Ph.D., showed that women turn to other women or take care of their children as a way to cope with stress. It’s possibly an ingrained survival mechanism for women to protect themselves and their families by banding together. Exchanging gifts and catching up at holiday parties can boost your levels of oxytocin, a biochemical that blocks the body’s chief stress chemical, and will let you rest easier at night.
2. Watch a Christmas comedy
Tuning into a broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life is great Christmas tradition, but you might want to try another festive film to help you get enough sleep. Researchers at the University of California at Irvine conducted a study with 16 people, whom they got to watch a funny videotape. The researchers measured various biochemicals related to stress and found the participants’ stress hormone levels dropped significantly watching the comedy, and levels of the anti-stress growth hormone rose 87 per cent. Take a load off, watch a funny Christmas classic-such as Elf, A Christmas Story, and Scrooged – and you’ll be relaxed for bed.
3. Fit in a seasonal siesta
Studies show that one nap between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. will reduce your sleep debt, invigorate your day, boost your productivity, and not affect your sleep at night. The nap can take up to 90 minutes. If you’re not naturally geared for napping, make sure to lie down for 20 minutes at the same time every day. Doing this will get your body used to the idea that you can relax in the middle of the day. Eventually, you’ll get enough sleep. A quick nap in the afternoon will help you get some much-needed rest before you head out to celebrate more.
4. Take a walk in the snow
“Exercise improves sleep as effectively as benzodiazepines [drugs used to treat insomnia] in some studies,” reports Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Ramakrishnan, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Studies from the University of Arizona show that women who even walked short distances, just six blocks, at a normal pace during the day found their sleep significantly improved.
Take your vacation time to be active with your friends and family: Build a snowman, hit the slopes, or take a stroll through the park. Exercise reduces the time it takes to get to sleep by 12 minutes, and it increases total sleep time by 42 minutes.
5. Relax before bed
The hour before bed is crucial to winding down so you can relax and finally snooze. According to the 2007 National Sleep Foundation poll, during the hour before bed, around 60 per cent of women do household chores, 37 per cent take care of children, 36 per cent do activities with other family members, 36 per cent are on the Internet, and 21 per cent do work related to their jobs. Add cooking, shopping and entertaining to that and the holiday season can set you up for some late nights. Traveling, having out-of-town visitors and an all-around busy agenda make it hard to predict your day-to-day schedule, but make sure to set that one hour aside so when the day is over, you’re ready for bed to ensure you get enough sleep.
6. Keep a regular sleep schedule
Staying up late attending parties and then sleeping in the next day are holiday customs. They’re part of the indulgence of the season, and part of celebrating at the end of a year. Yet that little gift – small as it is – is enough to throw off our biological clocks. Though you won’t be able to leave every party early, make sure to get back to a regular schedule a few days before you head back to the office in the New Year. Your body needs to the time to reset so you’ll wake up in time for work. These should help you get enough sleep.