The Holiday Rush: A Cause For Insomnia?
Written by Eli Ben-yehudaOn November 20, 2017
It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas so the Christmas song goes. A time of goodwill and good wishes, so you would think. But our modern way of life with the hustle and bustle has wormed its way into the holiday season. Beginning this week on Friday, Black Friday, the holiday season will leap into action and transform our semi-quiet world into full-blown chaos. But is doesn’t have to.
This time of the year more people will suffer from insomnia than any other time of the year. You would think that all the rushing around during the holiday season would make us so exhausted that we would get a great night’s sleep, but the fact is, a change in routine is a common cause of insomnia.
Let’s face it, during the holiday season people are hardly sticking to a regular routine. Even without travel, people are adding extra hours of shopping to their days and nights, hosting guests at home that can lead to late nights, as well as attending many events themselves, all while keeping up with regular responsibilities.
The holiday season is should be joyful, yet for some people, it can cause a great deal of anxiety to surface. For example, conflicts with family or friends can reignite because you only see those people during holidays. Other examples include people who find shopping or deciding what to buy for people stressful or those who are worried about the expense associated with holiday shopping.
How To Improve Your Sleep During The Holiday Season
During the rush of the holiday season, you want to focus on healthy habits which honestly can be easier said than done. Yet sleep is absolutely essential for the healing and repairing of our body. Ongoing sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
To keep your holiday healthy and refreshed, here are a few simple tips to improve your sleep during the holiday season and beyond…
Go to sleep when you feel tired.
Ease yourself into a new time zone to prevent jet lag.
Reduce alcohol consumption.
Reduce caffeine consumption.
Exercise daily and do it outside if you can.
Schedule 15 minutes of worry time an hour before bed to put your demons to rest.
Don’t overeat late at night.
How To Deal With The Stress & Depression During The Holidays
For some people during the holidays can bring on depression with the stress. People who have lost loved ones during the holiday season may make it difficult to sleep well. So here are a few additional tips to remember.
Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out a community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
Try these alternatives:
Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
Give homemade gifts.
Start a family gift exchange.
Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities.
Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Try these suggestions:
Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
Get plenty of sleep.
Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
We hope these suggestions will help you remain balanced during this holiday season. Reducing stress will be key to getting the sleep you need. Remember what the holidays are all about. Cherish your friends and family. Call someone whom you have not spoken to in years. Mend friendships that have been broken for one reason or another. From all of us at 2breathe Breathe well, sleep tight.
Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda
With a passion for health advocacy Eli researches and writes many articles concerning improving the lives of people diagnosed with high blood pressure and the complication they experience. He believes educating people is the best way to improve their overall health.
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