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6 Tips for a Healthy Holiday

The holidays are that special time of year where you get to eat loads of food, spend time with that aunt you haven’t seen in years, watch your children decorate the house, do this, do that, do those other things, go to holiday parties, do more, bake a cake, do something else, go shopping for Black Friday, do more, more and more!

With a schedule like that, how can anyone get any sleep between Thanksgiving and the New Year? But there's no reason to let the holidays rob you of that sweet, deep slumber you not only crave, but need to make it through to the New Year. Here are 6 sleep tips to help you sleep soundly through the holiday chaos.

1. Avoid the holiday rush

We all know that the holidays are busy! Between holiday shopping, family pictures, sending out holiday cards and everything else you planned, you simply can’t avoid the unexpected to add to your holiday stress.  

Since we KNOW we have a laundry list of “to do’s”, we often have the tendency to procrastinate. And while procrastinating seems a simple solution at the time to help us cope with the chaos, it can really come back to hurt us later. Before we know it, all of those chores and necessities build up and we are left with a huge list of things to do all at the same time leading to lots of unnecessary holiday stress. Stress is a huge cause of sleep deprivation. It causes us to stay up late nights either finishing up last minute tasks at home or work, or staring at the ceiling late nights wondering how we’re going to get it all done before the in-laws arrive.

So avoid the stress and get a jump start on your holiday planning. Make a list of things that need to be done before the Holidays and spread them out to ensure that you are not just cramming everything into a weekend off. Begin with the most time consuming projects so they don’t keep you up at night. And if you still feel overwhelmed, make sure you ask for help.

2. Don't do it all by yourself

Family is there to support one another, so make the holiday tasks and chores a family affair. Have the kids help with picking up around the house and your other loved ones help with cooking meals.

Make shopping for the holidays fun by inviting siblings, or distant relatives you don't get to spend much time with, along for the trip to the mall.  Not only avoid holiday stress and sleep deprivation, but bond with your family by getting everybody to help out where needed.

3. Keep your regular sleep schedule

It’s easy to stay up late during the holidays. You want to catch up with friends and family, make that last minute dessert, or even wrap some gifts. Those late nights can really hurt your sleep schedule. We know it’s hard – but you need to stick to your regular sleep schedule!

If you're zipping across time zones it can be much harder to keep your regular schedule as everybody else in the house will either be going to bed much earlier or later than yourself, depending on how far you've traveled. However, if you're having a short trip, try and keep as close to your regular schedule as possible to keep your mini vacation from having too much of a negative impact on your regular sleep routine.

4. Don’t forget to exercise

We know you might be tired of hearing how important exercise may be – but it really is that important! While it may be tempting to take some time off from fitness, please don't do it. Exercise is great for the body and the mind – which will be important to you staying sane this holiday season.

Even if you're traveling, find a way to exercise. The holidays can be a great opportunity for some extra cardio. Enjoy some new and exciting outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, tubing and of course playing with the kids.

5. Don’t over indulge

We know, we know – the holidays are the time of the year when you get to enjoy all of the food you might not get to eat throughout the rest of the year. Holiday meals are the best part of the holiday if you ask us! You've got your Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pies, cakes and everything in between.

But did you know that when it comes to getting good sleep too much of certain types of foods can keep you from sleeping soundly through the night?

Foods and drinks high in sugar and caffeine can keep you awake longer at night. And all those wonderful breads and heavy carbs can leave you feeling sluggish. So while you're at the buffet style dinner table pile up your plate with leafy greens, fruits and whole grains instead.

Also, keep late night snacking to a minimum. There's nothing wrong with having a small snack before bed, but if you're stuffing yourself on stuffing right before bed it can make your body work harder break down all that food as you sleep. When your body has to focus more energy on processing that scoop of banana pudding, it takes away from your body repairing and refreshing itself during sleep.

So we know what you might be thinking. What can I eat right before bed as a snack? Try eating a small bowl of shredded wheat cereal in milk or cheese and crackers. Complex carbs, milk, and cheese are all great foods for promoting a healthy sleep.

6. Slow down on the alcohol!

The holiday season is a time for way too many egg nogs, hot-buttered rums and other holiday specialty drinks.

While you’re thinking “well after a few drinks I sleep better”, it also disturbs your rest and diminishes the quality of your sleep. Alcohol also decreases the amount REM sleep where dreaming occurs, memories are stored, and learning occurs.

Furthermore, alcohol can make already existing sleep disorders worse. We’re not telling you to give up alcohol this holiday! We are just suggesting for you to practice some restraint. So, if you do feel like having a few hot-buttered rums during the festivities, drink in moderation and try to avoid drinking altogether at least 2-3 hours before bedtime for the best results.

We hope we haven’t ruined your thoughts about the holidays this year. In addition to all of these great tips, we recommend you taking Dormiva® at least an hour before bed. This all natural supplement will make sure that you are able to stick to your regular sleep schedule and wake up feeling refreshed the next day – just in time for a great holiday breakfast. Happy holidays everyone!

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