During the holiday season, we may indulge in the spirit of giving by sacrificing a lot of our time and energy, but there is definitely one gift we must reserve for ourselves–the gift of sleep.
Staying up late, performing holiday errands, or attending parties, and sleeping in the next day may be a part of holiday custom, but it is enough to throw our sleep rhythms off, as if we were suffering from jet lag. The best behavior would be to stick to our regular sleep/wake cycles, however at least trying to get back to a regular schedule just before returning to work or school in the new year may make it easier for your body to reset, and wake up on time.
The quality of the sleep we do get during this time of year can also be affected by the holiday customs. When attending evening parties, try toavoid too much alcohol or caffeine–either can inhibit your normal sleep pattern. Avoiding big, heavy meals close to bedtime reduces the likelihood of stomach upset or heartburn–either of which makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. If restraint was not part of dinner, actually sleeping on your left side may help reduce the severity of heartburn or reflux. Finally, getting enough quality sleep helps you keep your exercise routine on track to help you ward off excess weight gain during this holiday season, which will be tackled on many a resolution list for 2012!
Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season, a great new year, and many nights of restful sleep!
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