Despite the joy of the season, Christmas is known as one of the most stressful times of the year. While it’s wonderful to celebrate and share meals with families, friends and loved ones, the business of the Christmas season can leave a lot of us feeling frazzled and worse for wear. With businesses winding down for closure, holidays to book, presents to buy and meals to cook, it is vital that you are getting the sleep you need this holiday season to support your busy end of year lifestyle.
Despite Bing Crosby crooning “White Christmas” in every store, Christmas in Australia can be hot, hot, hot! Coupled with running around doing last minute shopping, spending time outdoors with the family and having a few drinks over the turkey, this can leave your body feeling a little under the weather. One of the reasons for this is the dehydration that comes in periods of busyness and heat, so make sure that you are regularly drinking plenty of water. Keep a bottle handy at your desk to sip at during the day to help get the 2-3 litres your body needs during summer. And make sure the kids are well hydrated too – being dehydrated is one major cause of fatigue, illness and insomnia.
Despite the temptation to pinch one of Santa’s cookies, try to hold yourself back to take care of yourself this Christmas season. Anything high in sugar, saturated fats or carbohydrates will spike your insulin and sugar levels and keep you lying awake at night. There are also some foods with sneaky caffeine in them – like chocolate! Try to eat before 9pm to give your body time to process food before going to bed, otherwise the hormone and digestion changes associated with eating certain types of food will have you up counting sheep.
Here’s some very unpopular advice: try to avoid the Boxing Day Sleep-in! As much as it might feel like your body craves a few extra hours of shut-eye on a lazy day, this will negatively impact your overall sleep. Set a bedtime and get-up time and try to stick to it, even if this feels challenging. Binge-sleeping does not make up for lost hours, and means that you disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm that gets you up in the morning.
A bed time routine is more important than ever in the summer time. One of the major indicators that tells your body it’s time to sleep is a drop in temperature. If you’re struggling to sleep on hot nights, try to make your bedroom as cool and dark as possible. You can also mimic the body’s natural temperature drop and make yourself drowsy by taking a warm bath or shower before bed. Routine is particularly important for kids, who may struggle to fall asleep at their bed time as it’s still light out. Try installing blackout curtains so their room is as dark as possible, and establish a bedtime ritual to prepare them for bed mentally.
I know – easier said than done! But there are some things outside the bedroom that can help you sleep better this Christmas season. Try to get as much exercise as possible and make the most of the warm weather by being outside! The movement, vitamin d and melatonin will help put your body in a good sleep wake rhythm. Also try stress reduction activities like mindfulness or meditation. One trick for reducing Christmas-time worries is to have a piece of paper beside your bed when you are trying to sleep. Write down your worries and instruct yourself that you will take care of them tomorrow, rather than laying down in bed and mulling them over. Try not to worry about not sleeping, as this is a leading cause of insomnia. Instead, remind yourself of times in the past where you did not sleep well, but still managed to get through the following day. This will reduce what’s known as meta-worry (worry about worry) and help your relax.
Of course, none of these tips will be as effective if you don’t have a comfy mattress and bed designed with the best sleeping conditions in mind. Beds for Backs is the only stockist of ergonomic beds, designed to adjust to your body and provide your best rest. Read more about the benefits of ergonomics here, or drop by in store to speak to one of our sleep specialists.
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