The holiday season can be a beautiful time of year. It can also be incredibly stressful. Whether you are experiencing drama with family, stress with shopping, overwhelmed with cooking, traveling across the country or dealing with all of the above. The holidays can really turn up the stress and anxiety.
Anytime stress enters our lives, we often find ourselves having a hard time sleeping. This can be frustrating as a lack of sleep can not only add to stress but it can also lower our health. Finding ways to cope with stress so that you can get great sleep is vital. Stick around for our top tips on how to not let holiday stress ruin your sleep.
Plan Your Holiday Ahead of Time:
Part of the stress that comes during the holidays is during the entire planning process. Who is hosting, what is everyone bringing, did you buy all the right food? Knowing what to expect and planning ahead of time will cut down on a lot of this added stress. You can book your tickets in advance, buy your food before the grocery stores get insanely packed, and generally make life a lot easier on yourself.
If you have a family or friends that typically don’t take lead on planning things then it may be up to you. While this can be stressful, doing it ahead of time will take a lot of stress out of the process later on. We recommend creating a family calendar that takes note of all the office parties, kids Christmas shows, and other events you will be invited to. This will help you schedule everything out and not to overbook.
Shop for Gifts Year Round (Or at least start early):
One of these most common stressors during the holidays is Christmas shopping. Getting all the gifts, trying to get a great price, dealing with the crowds, the lines, delayed shipping notifications… It is all a big pain and can cause a lot of unnecessary stress.
Instead, shop early. In fact, if you can, try to get in the habit of shopping for Christmas year-round. Not only will this mean you are ready when Christmas comes, it also means you will often find better gifts as you are getting gifts that truly make you think of the person you are shopping for. Instead of buying a gift because it is available and on sale. Getting your shopping done early is a great way to avoid
Written Clear Communication:
A detailed phone call is great, but nothing beats written down plans that you can reference back to whenever your mind is failing you. If you and your family or friends prefer to hash out holiday plans over the phone that is all well and good. We recommend sending out a text or email afterword that details the plans you have made so that you can reference it again later.
This helps to have clear communication and not having to reinvent plans that have already been set. It is a great way to keep the whole family on the same page about who is traveling where and when and so on. By keeping communication as clear as possible it will help to cut down on miscommunications and stress.
Take It Easy on The Alcohol:
There is nothing quite like a hangover to ruin your day. With all of the holiday parties it can be all too easy to accidentally have one too many glasses of the Christmas punch. However, alcohol has a bad habit of ruining sleep. Even if you feel like you knocked out and slept deeply throughout the night, studies have shown that your sleep quality goes way down the more you drink. Which leaves you feeling tired and groggy the next day.
If you want to avoid a nasty hangover and a terrible night of no sleep, then we highly recommend taking it easy during the holiday season. Be mindful of the heavy handed rum in the eggnog or the even the extra glass of champagne before midnight on NYE. Staying hydrated and healthy is the best way to avoid holiday stress.
Only Drink Caffeine In The Morning to Early Afternoon:
Caffeine can be a life saver at times, or a sleep destroyer if you are not careful. Caffeine can remain active in your system for up to 6 or 7 hours after you finish drinking it. Which means your evening pick me up could be making it hard for you to get to sleep at night. For this reason, recommend taking it easy on those afternoon runs through Starbucks.
Another note on caffeine is that it can heighten feelings of anxiety. If you are particularly sensitive to caffeine or struggle with anxiety and stress, you may want to consider cutting back on how much caffeine you drink on a regular basis.
You may find that your anxiety goes down without it. Check out our post all about caffeine and sleep. Click the link below to read now.
Take Naps When Needed:
The holiday season can be completely stressful and exhausting. Taking naps can be a great way to take a break from all the many things that are causing you stress and tiring you out. Holiday shopping, traveling, even just socializing with friends and family can get overwhelming. If you find you need a break from it all, we highly recommend taking a nap if you can squeeze it into your busy Christmas schedule.
Even if you don’t think you will be able to sleep, getting time away to get some peace and quiet can be very rejuvenating. If you have access to an empty room, lock yourself in and take a few minutes to yourself. Lay down and take a breather. Even as little as a few short minutes can do a lot when it comes to saving your sanity during this busy time of year.
When family comes in from out of town and there is so much to do, often we let our work out routine slip. This happens to many of us as we already have so much on our plate. However, if you are trying to beat holiday stress and stay cool and collected. Then we highly recommend continuing your exercise schedule.
Working out is a great way to release endorphins and get some time to yourself. It is also a great way to get a boost of energy, especially if you work out first thing in the morning. If you are traveling out of town, try to get in an early walk or run.
Even just a bit of cardio can tide you over until you can get back home to your gym. By getting your blood pumping and squeezing in some time to take care of yourself can be a great way to keep stress at bay.
If you are not already familiar with the benefits working out has on your sleep, check out our post: Exercise and Sleep: Is Exercise Good For Sleep?
Get Sleep During Travel:
Let’s face it, traveling is exhausting. It typically requires an early wake up call, time zone changes, waiting in line, frustration, flight changes, hunger, and even sometimes dealing with unreasonable people. Even when you have a relatively smooth sailing experience when traveling, it can still be a tiring experience. Which is why we suggest squeezing in some rest on the way.
If you are on a road trip, try taking turns so you can take a nice nap on the road. During flights you have lots of time to spare, try taking a nap during your flight instead of watching a movie or reading a book. Sleep can give you that boost in energy to make it the rest of the way to your final destination. Helping you to feel fresh before greeting friends and family.
Stick to Your Sleep Schedule (If you can):
One way to feel less stressed and stay well rested during the holiday season is by sticking to your sleep schedule. Now time zone changes will make this nearly impossible. However, if you can manage to continue going to bed on time and waking up at your usual cadence, then we highly recommend doing so.
Changing up your sleep schedule by staying out late and sleeping in can lower your overall sleep quality. Making you feel tired can groggy. This makes it much harder to stay energized throughout your busy holiday season. Instead stick to your sleep schedule as closely as possible, this will make sure you are getting great rest and make it easier to take on the day. It will also make the transition back to work/school much easier.
Not on a sleep schedule currently? Find out how to get back on a schedule in our post: How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Sit Back and Enjoy Your Holiday:
This is a tip for all those who work so hard to make the holidays perfect for your friends and family members. For the party planning fanatics that just want everything to be absolutely perfect.
The bakers, the cooks, and the secret Santas out there. All to often holiday stress hits these people the most. Find moments throughout the holidays to sit back and enjoy all the hard work you have put in. You did all the decorating and cooking and gift shopping, now find time to enjoy it.
Sit back in a comfortable chair and watch your family open gifts. Or cozy up by the fire and drink a warm cup of cocoa. Perhaps take a long bath after everyone else has gone home or is tucked in bed. Soak in the moments that you have worked so hard to create and enjoy this beautiful season. This is what it is all about, spending moments with those you love most. Enjoying these moments is the best way to beat the stress and sleep well at night.
Don’t Let Holiday Stress Ruin Your Sleep:
If you let stress take over your holiday season, it can easily ruin your sleep. We hope these tips and tricks help you to get the most out of your holiday season while limiting stress and getting great sleep. In an attempt to make things perfect, we often get caught up in the stress of the season and forget to take care of ourselves. Our wish is that you are able to enjoy this beautiful time of year with friends and family while keeping stress low and getting all the sleep you need. Happy Holidays!
Have a question for us? Send us a message, we would love to answer your questions and help however we can.