How Holiday Stress Impacts Your Sleep

There’s no time like the holiday season. Families and friends can spend intentional time re-connecting, watching football and enjoying delicious food. This is an opportunity to treat yourself and to be merry. 

With all the hustle, bustle and joy comes planning; errands to run, appointments to make, meals to prepare and shopping to do. It’s important to be cognizant of getting holiday stress amidst all of this activity because it can disrupt your sleep. Read on as we discuss why that happens.

You May Feel Sleepier During the Holidays, but You’re Not Getting Better Sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital for ensuring we stay in tip top shape. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults aged 18-60 get at least seven hours of sleep each night. If you’re able to do this and keep a reliable sleep schedule, that’s fantastic. However, the holiday season tends to disrupt our normal schedules, so it’s no surprise that our sleep schedules end up disrupted as well. 

There is a common misconception that we actually get better sleep during the holidays. Believe it or not, that tryptophan in your Thanksgiving turkey isn’t making you any more sleepy than normal. Based on available data, it’s not uncommon for people to sleep up to 2 hours less per night during the holiday season. 

Poor Sleep Has a Tangible Effect on Our Lives

Elevated stress levels can negatively affect our health and sleep quality. The holiday season can lead to elevated stress, and this can be attributed to financial factors, family gatherings, travel and disrupted routines.

  • Stress causes many people to lose hours of much-needed rest. 
  • In the short-term, lack of sleep due to holiday stress can affect concentration and mood. You are also at increased risk of serious accidents and injury.
  • Long term, you may become more susceptible to serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

How to Sleep Better During the Holidays

Now that we’ve established how the holidays can disrupt our normal sleep habits, it’s time to focus on ways to maximize your sleep and minimize your stress. Here are a few tips from our sleep specialists:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. This may seem simple, but being intentional about maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can significantly mitigate holiday stress. 
  • Limit your food and alcohol consumption. It may be tempting to indulge in those extra desserts and drinks, but try to be aware of your intake. Sticking to a healthy amount will improve your sleep quality in a major way.
  • Limit travel, if possible. Traveling can be fun, but if you plan to fly, jet lag can disrupt your functioning and sleep. Try to get some extra sleep before your flight and stay hydrated when you’re on the plane. If you’re sleeping away from home, taking warm showers, meditating, journaling, using sleep masks and earplugs can help you get better sleep.

Say Yes to Better Sleep This Holiday Season

Are you ready to take your sleep to the next level? Our sleep specialists can help. At Whitney Sleep, we believe everyone is entitled to good sleep health, strong mental performance and happy lives. We provide sleep apnea tests and source the best CPAP machines and accessories to help you sleep peacefully. Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have about sleep apnea, allergy season or other sleep issues you have, as well as scheduling a sleep consultation or treatment options if caffeine has negatively impacted your sleep. If you are experiencing chronic sleep deprivation, reach out to us now to make an appointment with the best sleep specialists near you for a sleep consultation.