Sleep Better, Despite Holiday Stress

Holiday time is upon us, and with it comes family trips, household visitors, home decorating chores, party planning, gift-shopping and — of course — all those extra bills to pay. All of this added stress can lead to sleepless nights. In fact, the 2010 SleepBetter.org Holiday Slumber Index showed one in six Americans were expecting to lose sleep due to holiday-induced stress.  Fret not, however. We have sleep advice to help ensure that holiday stress doesn’t keep you from getting a good night’s rest.

Stress of any kind is a proven cause of sleep disorders and interrupted sleep patterns.  Your health is your most important asset and it takes good quality sleep to maintain it.  Some studies also link poor sleep with increased susceptibility to ulcers, heart disease, obesity, depression and a host of age-related ailments. Sleep deprivation also is frequently cited as the cause of highway fatalities and other accidents.

SleepBetter.org offers the following tips to enjoy better sleep while enjoying the holidays:

  • Keep your schedule: Even during the festive season, sleeping habits for adults should be as regular as possible. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Don’t spend your day off from work in bed or you won’t feel rested the next day.
  • Don’t over-indulge, Part One: When you eat heavy, greasy foods, especially in the evening, your body won’t be able to digest them quickly, leaving you to the mercy of that food while you’re trying to sleep.
  • Don’t over-indulge, Part Two: Take it easy with “holiday cheer.” Even though alcohol is a depressant and will help the body fall asleep, it will create problems during the second half of the sleep cycle, when the effects have worn off and a backlash effect occurs.
  • Travel smart: If you’re traveling for the holidays (as a passenger), invest in a travel pillow to catch a nap and avoid a stiff neck; wear comfortable clothing and bring along an iPod or other MP3 to play soothing music to help you sleep during the trip.

Have a happy and restful holiday season!

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