Enjoy a merrier Christmas this year by getting your beauty sleep
How are you sleeping this year? Here’s some tips for making the most of your sleep during the festive period, in a guest post:
This the season to be merry – but it’s very hard to be merry when you’re sleep deprived. If you want to make the most of the Christmas period, you will need to be full of energy, vim and vigour, which means sleep should be your best friend.
As well as eating well and getting exercise, getting a good night’s sleep will bring you a bucket-load of festive cheer this year – and there are several things you can do to make that happen.
Limit your alcohol
OK, so completely avoiding alcohol during the Christmas period might be something you’re not prepared to even contemplate – but you don’t need to. By all means, enjoy a few tipples, just don’t overdo things to the extent that you feel ill, confused or tired. And try to have your last drink no later than four hours before bedtime.
Identify when and how you’re losing sleep
There might be some very specific reasons why you’re not getting the sleep you need during the Christmas period. Perhaps a member of your family works shifts and disrupts your sleep when returning from work. Or maybe Christmas parties at your neighbour’s house are disturbing you. Lost sleep might also occur because of your lifestyle during the festive period. Only by monitoring your sleep after making changes to your daily rituals can you identify the root causes of your disrupted rest.
The sleep tracker function on the Fitbug device will monitor your sleeping patterns and provide you with easy-to-read data that can be used to make the necessary changes to both your sleeping environment and your Christmas lifestyle choices.
Maintain a regular sleeping schedule
Right at the start of the festive period, make a commitment to maintaining a consistent bedtime, as well as a consistent getting-up time. This might mean leaving a party early when things are in full flow, but you’ll feel so much better the day after. Getting into a cycle of going to bed late and getting up late will change your body clock – disrupting your sleeping patterns and making decent rest far less likely.
Create a sleeping refuge from Christmas festivities
Let’s face it, Christmas is everywhere in December, and it can sometimes be hard to switch off and unwind. By making your bedroom a Christmas-free zone, you can create the conditions that are ideal for high-quality sleep. Remove any devices that might emit light, including mobile phones, digital clocks and gadgets. Turn your TV off rather than leaving it on standby, and invest in some blackout curtains if light streams into your bedroom from the street.
It’s also a good idea to remove anything that makes a noise from your bedroom. Ask other people in your household to be quiet after a certain time at night. While Christmas parties are lots of fun, the noise they create can be very disruptive to people trying to sleep.
A lot of people like to spend extended periods of time on the couch at Christmas – watching TV, eating and drinking. Doing this can leave you feeling drowsy, particularly during the afternoon and just after eating.
As well as putting a schedule of exercise in place, you should try to fight these feelings of drowsiness when they occur by getting on your feet and doing something. Whether you go for a quick walk around the block, do the weekly shop or simply pop round to a friend’s house, try not to get into a routine of napping simply because of your Christmas indulgences. Of course, naps can be very beneficial, but try to limit them to no more than 20 minutes at roughly the same time every day.
Choose the right snacks at bedtime
Eating the wrong types of food just before your bedtime could have a direct impact on the quality of your sleep. Avoid caffeine at all costs – and in all its forms – within four hours of going to bed. This means you shouldn’t be consuming carbonated drinks, coffee, chocolate and certain over-the-counter pain relief during the evenings. If you have a headache just before bedtime, drink lots of water and get your head down as quickly as possible.
A full stomach can also interfere with your sleep, so keep late-night snacks as light as possible. Don’t eat large meals after 7 p.m., and make your night-time foods light and low in carbs. For instance, a lean turkey and spinach wrap on a corn-based tortilla is the perfect festive meal if you’re eating late. And throughout the day, avoid the temptation to ‘stuff your face’, as this will play havoc with your digestive system and give you some very uncomfortable nights in bed.
Too many people accept a lack of sleep at Christmas as the price of over-indulgence and festive partying. But by making a few changes to your sleeping arrangements and generally looking after yourself, you’ll be able to recharge your batteries every night – helping you to have a happier, merrier Christmas.
How are you sleeping this year?
This is a collaborative post.