According to a 2015 survey, 62% of us have stress levels around the holidays that are, "very or somewhat" elevated. Only 10% reportedly experienced no stress during the holiday season.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can manage your stress levels. Planning and organizing your time and budget can help.
But so can sleeping through the holidays. And while you may think that's a good idea but not practical, we think you should hear us out.
Keep reading to learn why the holidays are the best time to go to sleep.
Sleeping Through the Holidays Allows You to Get the Amount of Sleep You Need
For people 18 to 65 years, the sleep range is 7-9 hours. But that doesn't mean most adults get the recommended hours of sleep every night.
In fact, a third of all adults aren't getting enough sleep each night. Our lives are busy and due to stress or health issues, it can be challenging to get enough sleep.
Holidays Equal Time Off From Work
Thankfully, the holidays are a time when we have a few extra days off from work. It's also common for people to take a few vacation days during the holidays.
And that means you can create a schedule where you allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. You'll definitely feel a difference the next morning when you wake up without having to rush off somewhere.
Your Immune System Will Function Better
While you sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Some cytokines help promote sleep.
Other cytokines help with infections, inflammation or stress and should increase during times when you're experiencing these symptoms. But when you're sleep-deprived, the production of these protective cytokines may decrease.
Infection-fighting antibodies and cell production are also reduced when you don't get enough sleep. Getting sleep helps your body fight infectious diseases.
Increased Risk of Health Issues
Also, the longer you go without enough sleep, you also end up at risk for the following health issues:
- Heart disease
- Cardiovascular disease
Remember, you're looking to get enough sleep, not too much. If you're an adult sleeping longer than nine to 10 hours per night, you may notice a lack of quality sleep and experience problems staying or falling asleep.
You'll Eat Less
Another way not getting enough sleep affects your body is it can cause obesity. And while it's a myth that the average American gains between seven and ten pounds over the holiday, we still do put on between one and two pounds.
Exhaustion elevates a hormone called ghrelin. Once elevated, it makes us feel hungry.
That makes it even harder to resist all the treats that are around during the holiday season. However, getting enough sleep or taking naps in the daytime can help us fight fatigue.
That can lead us to snack less and avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain.
Increased Energy Levels
When there are fewer hours of daylight, it's natural for us to feel like we're more tired. Unfortunately, thanks to our busy schedules, we don't have as much time to get the extra rest our bodies may want/need.
But if you get enough rest, to begin with, you'll wake up each morning feeling more energetic, alert, and with improved motor performance. And during the holidays, you should also have time to take a nap.
Take 20 or 90-Minute Naps
If you do nap, aim for 20 minutes or 90 minutes. 20 minutes is just enough to make you feel more attentive and focused but not enough time to send us in REM sleep.
Napping for 90 minutes allows you to enter REM sleep, which can help with creativity. Anything in between and you may feel more tired when you wake up.
Ability to Feel Happier and Calmer
Here's what happiness means to most people:
- Being healthy
- Feeling loved and appreciated
- Feeling satisfied with your life
- Feeling good about yourself and others
- Luck and prosperity
But when you're exhausted, it's hard to feel as though you can manage anything. Instead of feeling happy, you feel angry, overwhelmed, and anxious.
In fact, going for long periods of time without enough sleep can increase the risk of developing mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Getting quality sleep means you feel healthy, strong, and happy.
Less Reliance on Energy Drinks or Caffeine
While there's nothing wrong with a good cup of coffee to start off your morning right, too much caffeine isn't good for you.
If you're relying on caffeine or energy drinks to get you through your day, it's a clear sign you aren't getting enough rest. And you're probably ingesting more sugar and calories than you realize.
Taking a nap means you get the sleep your body really needs without relying on outside substances to get that boost of energy you need.
How to Get a Good Night's Rest
There are some very easy ways to help ensure you get some sleep such as:
Having a Night Time Routine
Aiming to go to bed at the same time every night helps your body and mind adjust to a schedule. You'll find it's easier to fall asleep at night by doing this.
If you're still struggling, try listening to relaxing music, taking a warm bath or meditating just before bedtime.
You should also block out any light and set your room temperature to cool.
The LED lights in your cell phone and tablet can suppress melatonin levels which can make falling asleep harder. You should also avoid trying to fall asleep with the television on.
Electronics give off an energy, even when they're off so it's best to remove all electronics from your room.
Avoid Spicy Foods and Beverages
Don't fill up on spicy, greasy or protein-filled foods just before bedtime. These foods can disrupt your digestion and/or cause an upset stomach.
You should also avoid drinking any beverages for at least two hours before you head off to bed. That way, you won't disrupt your sleep by having to use the bathroom during the night.
Invest in a Quality Bed
You'll have trouble sleeping through the holidays if you don't have a quality bed. If you wake up feeling unrefreshed or in pain, it's a sign you may need a new bed.