As much as most of us look forward to the holidays, there is no denying that this period presents plenty of possibilities for disrupted sleep. From stressing out over trying to find the perfect Christmas gift to traveling across the country to visit Grandma, there are many outside factors that can disrupt your sleep during the holidays.
For those who already struggle with sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, this can make your winter vacation an even harder time than normal.
Fortunately, by taking a few proactive steps in how you approach your wintertime sleep, you’ll be able to get the rest you need to enjoy your time with family and friends.
1. Stick to Your Regular Sleep Schedule
Between holiday parties and the potential for travel to another time zone, many people find themselves staying up much later than normal as they catch up with friends and family. Other than when your kids wake you up bright and early on Christmas morning, you should still try to stick as close as possible to your normal bedtime and wake-up time.
Ideally, you shouldn’t stay up more than an hour after your normal bedtime. Even if you are switching time zones, it may be better to stick to your normal routine if you will only be staying for a day or two. Keeping your circadian rhythm in sync can improve your mood and metabolism, making holiday gatherings much more enjoyable for everyone.
2. Don’t Put Off Tasks Until the Last Minute
There is no denying that the holiday season can get stressful, especially if you’re the kind of person who puts off their gift shopping until the last minute. The stress that comes from procrastination or taking on too many holiday responsibilities doesn’t just disrupt things during the day — it can also keep you from getting enough sleep at night.
In fact, 43 percent of American adults report that stress keeps them from being able to fall asleep on a monthly basis. As holiday responsibilities add up, you could find yourself lying awake night after night, worried about what still needs to get done.
The obvious solution is to pace yourself. Purchasing gifts, making travel plans, or making arrangements for a family dinner should ideally be done sooner rather than later. You also shouldn’t be afraid to say no if an event or responsibility would get to be too much.
3. Go Easy on the Snacks & Drinks
Holiday parties with family, work, and friends offer plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry. While there’s nothing wrong with a few Christmas cookies, avoid the temptation to overindulge during the holiday season — particularly as you get closer to bedtime.
Eating too many sugary or fatty foods before bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep. Eating a large snack of any kind right before bed means your body’s energy will be focused on digestion rather than refreshing itself during sleep.
Alcohol can be even more problematic, as it decreases REM sleep time and reduces the overall quality of sleep. Alcohol consumption can also worsen sleep apnea symptoms by relaxing the throat muscles.
4. Get Some Outdoor Exercise
During the winter, it’s tempting to hunker down under a blanket and just watch TV all day. While this can certainly be relaxing, it’s not necessarily the best option for a good night’s rest.
Both exercise and outdoor time can help you fall asleep faster at night — and stay asleep. Exposure to natural light helps your body’s circadian rhythm, and can also reduce your risk for seasonal affective disorder.
Get some quality winter fun in by going sledding, skiing, or snowshoeing with family and friends. Even a walk around the neighborhood can provide the sunlight and physical exertion you need to sleep soundly at night.
5. Be Mindful of Your Sleep Environment
You may not always be in control of your sleep environment when traveling for the holidays — but there are still steps you can take to improve your sleep environment. For example, you can block the glow of a hall light (or even Christmas lights hanging outside your window) by wearing an eye mask. If you are staying in a noisy house where other people will be staying up much later than you, try wearing ear plugs or using a noise machine to drown out the sound.
As with any other time of year, try to limit your exposure to screens in the bedroom. Turning off the TV or your smartphone to limit your exposure to blue light will make it easier for your body to produce melatonin so you can fall asleep.
Get the Quality Sleep You Deserve This Holiday Season!
Even when you follow these guidelines, individuals struggling with sleep apnea will often find a full night’s rest hard to come by. If you feel exhausted each morning and your fatigue is starting to interfere with work and family life, you owe it to yourself to get a sleep study to determine if you could benefit from a CPAP machine.
At No Insurance Medical Supplies, we understand that CPAP machines and other medical equipment can be quite costly, particularly when you don’t have insurance coverage. That’s why we offer a wide range of equipment from leading brands at discount prices. Special offer discounts and available financing can help you save even more.
This holiday season, give yourself the gift of better sleep. Order the medical equipment you need to get a good night’s rest so all can be merry and bright.