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Reduce Holiday Stress with Sleep

fell asleep while wrapping presentThe quick breads are in the oven. The gifts are on the table, ready to wrap. You are trying to finish a few things for work, and then you will have time to get all these other tasks done. If you prize your health, you will put a good night’s sleep at the top of your wish list this year.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen – even though your ability to get through the holidays depends on it.

Even Santa Needs Rest

If you have trouble sleeping during the holiday season, it can be the result of you putting high expectations upon yourself. The pressure to give wonderful gifts that are beautifully wrapped takes a lot of time and money. Unless you beg out of the entire gift exchange, chances are that your November and December will be occupied with extra projects that you wouldn’t have to do at other times of the year, including decorating, baking and socializing. As tempting as it may be to stay up for an extra hour or two to get them done, you should reconsider. Staying up later once or twice during the holidays might not do too much damage, but regularly missing sleep can put your health at risk.

Lousy Sleep’s Effects on Your Holiday Plans

Missing an hour of sleep here and there may not seem like much. In fact, you might even believe that you can just down an extra cup of coffee to get out of it. However, missed sleep can have a lot of harmful effects on your day, including:

    • feeling too tired to complete tasks
    • difficulty focusing
    • overdependence on energy drinks and coffee
    • mistakes made at home or work

If you think about it, missing sleep to try to catch up on jobs you need to do will often translate into poor results, as well as an inability to summon the energy to do the things you’re excited about doing.

How Poor Sleep Aggravates Stress

mom with christmas stress.jpgAt any time of the year, lost sleep has the ability to begin a cycle that is difficult to break. You drink a cup of coffee in the evening so you can stay up late one night. When it’s time to go to sleep, your mind is racing. You wake up the next morning exhausted and stressed about work and all the extra holiday activities you have planned. You consume more stimulating substances to get you through the day, and then you struggle to get to sleep the following night. Within a week, your sleep pattern is producing more stress than it is relieving.

How to Get Better Sleep During the Holidays

Snagging a good night’s sleep each night has a strong association with stress relief. When you wake well-rested, you have the energy to take on the day. So start by enforcing a reasonable bedtime for yourself, i.e., one that allows you to settle, get enough sleep and wake up at the appropriate time. Avoid distractions and stress-producing activities at night, particularly talking about money or making complicated holiday plans. Make your bedroom a place of peace; create an environment that is cool, dark and without clutter to remind you of the busy holiday.

If you struggle to find the energy to power through your holiday obligations, get more sleep. The better rest will give you more energy to accomplish your holiday task list and help to lower your level of stress.

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