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Sleeping Through the Season: Don't Let the Holidays Wreck Your Rest

family drinking hot chocolate by Christmas tree

family drinking hot chocolate by Christmas tree

Beginning in November and continuing through December, we experience an intense social season: "The Holiday Season."

While this period of cultural celebrations brings joy and excitement to many, it also serves up a double portion of stress. With meals to plan, shopping to complete, gifts to wrap and family reunions to arrange, sometimes it can all feel overwhelming.

In addition to the pressures associated with the holiday celebrations themselves, some people experience sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Unsurprisingly, sleeping through the season becomes challenging for everyone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the "Holiday Blues," as some call it, can be triggered by any number of factors, including the following:

  • Associating the holidays with unresolved family issues or a painful childhood.
  • Ignoring feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression to maintain "holiday cheer."
  • Facing the loss of a loved one with whom you have shared the holidays.
  • Having unrealistic expectations of family and friends.
  • Expecting that you "should" feel good.
  • Being away from family and friends.
  • Feeling isolated from others.
  • Reflecting on losses or disappointments over the past year.
  • Coping with changes in family obligations, particularly after a recent marriage or divorce.
  • Drinking more alcohol, which is often more readily available during the holidays.

To this list we would add another trigger: not getting enough rest.

Holiday "Restlessness"

With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it's unsurprising that many of us lose sleep during the holidays.

Those who work retail find themselves logging long hours, often skimping on sleep to keep the plates spinning at home. Parents of adolescent children face a packed schedule as they ferry kids back and forth to seasonal performances, parties, and other social events. Many people either travel long hours to visit family, or they open their homes to out-of-town guests. Either way, schedules are being disrupted, and all parties involved are likely skimping on sleep.

Combating Congestion

One way to ensure that you're keeping your sleep patterns on an even keel during the holiday season is to tackle the congestion in your calendar purposefully. While it may sound tempting to attend every concert, say "yes" to every invitation, and somehow fit all of your holiday prep in the schedule, you'll soon find yourself running ragged.

Decide ahead of time to be intentional with your seasonal social calendar. Determine how many evenings a week you can afford to be out late and still keep yourself rested and refreshed for work. Once you've set your limit, only accept opportunities that fit within your parameters. If you have a family or partner, draw them into the discussion, deciding together which invitations take priority. Don’t let the holidays wreck your rest.

Minimizing Disruption

While it's difficult to eliminate holiday disruption all together, there are specific steps you can take to mitigate the impact, especially when it comes to sleep disruption.

First, if you are going to travel, try to schedule your travel period during regular daylight hours. While it may seem like a good idea to "save time" by working up to the last minute and then driving all night when the roadways are less congested, the toll this plan will have on your sleep is rarely worth the time "saved." Not only that, but you are in much less danger of falling asleep at the wheel during daylight hours, and nothing disrupts the holidays quite like a fender bender.

Second, if you are celebrating the holidays in a cold-weather climate, do what you can to work some daily outdoor time into your routine.

While spending time indoors is to be expected during the holiday season, it's important not to miss out on the powerful benefits of natural light. Especially when the days are at their shortest, exposure to natural outdoor light can enhance feelings of alertness during the day. The benefit of increased alertness during the day is a stronger drive to sleep at night. Consequently, prioritizing some outdoor time during the holiday season can have benefits for sleep at night. (Sleep)

Third, no matter what your holiday plans look like, do your best to preserve your usual bedtime routine to continue sleeping through the season. Although staying up late to watch every episode of a favorite TV show and then sleeping in the next day sounds super cozy, it will wreak havoc with your circadian rhythm. It's a much less appealing option, but consider going to bed at your usual time and getting up to watch TV in the early-morning hours. Either way, you get to spend a cozy few hours on the couch in your jammies.

Avoiding the Binge

Something about the holiday season catapults many of us into Binge Mode. Whether it's food and drink, alcohol, Netflix, or all-day video game marathons, something about the long hours between Christmas and New Year's Day tempts us to while away the hours by binging.

There are a few good reasons to resist the temptation to binge, however. Binge eating is well documented to be harmful to your health, and none of the other scenarios mentioned above are particularly beneficial, either; therefore, rather than binging, consider giving shape to your day by scheduling regular intervals of rest, activity, and refreshments.

Controlling the urge to binge isn't just right for you: it will keep any guests visiting you on their toes as well; and when your guests are happy, everyone's holidays are a bit brighter.

We Can Help

Here at Nest Bedding, we make it our goal to help you achieve your best possible night's sleep. While we can't come to your house and personally help you arrange your holiday schedule, we make ourselves available to help you select the very best mattresses at the most affordable rates.

If you have questions about our premium products, or if you would like to discuss anything else, please feel free to contact us at any time, either online or by visiting one of our showrooms. We would love to meet you, hear a little bit about your life, and help match you to the perfect mattress.

We're friendly, competent, and non-pushy. We can't wait to meet you and help point you in the right direction.

See you soon!