As parents we are often concerned with our children’s sleep during the holidays but about what about our own? With all the hustle and bustle of the festivities, protecting our own sleep patterns tends to fall by the wayside. This holiday season, here are a few tips that can help you take care of yourself as well.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
Before a busy holiday or travel adventure it’s always best to focus on your sleep. Practicing a lifestyle of proper sleep hygiene and always meeting your basal sleep needs is important. This will allow you to enter these busy times as well rested as possible. Set your sleep pattern and stick to it by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day to keep your body clock in line. When we align our sleep times with our natural sleep rhythms and internal 24-hour biological clock we are able to achieve the best restorative sleep possible and, consequently, going to bed and waking up become easier.
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Falling asleep too quickly (within five minutes of going to bed) or taking too long to fall asleep (anything more than 20 minutes) is a telltale sign that you are sleep deprived? Give yourself a curfew! Only choose a few nights during the holidays to stay up late. And remember, every hour of lost sleep takes 24 hours to make up.
Don’t Forget to Pack Your Bedtime Routine
Sleep during the holidays often means sleeping someplace other than your own bed. When going away, it’s important that you bring your bedtime routine and sleeping essentials to help transfer the comforts of home to a new environment. Throwing your eye mask, white noise machine, ear plugs, or favourite bedtime book into your overnight bag will help make an unfamiliar sleep space more comfortable and secure for you and will help ensure a restful night’s sleep during the holidays.
Travel Sleep Tip: Make Sure to Plan Ahead!
When booking your hotel room think carefully about what type of room you need. If travelling with family try to book a suite with an adjoining room. This way you can get the children to bed without hiding out in the bathroom for the remainder of the evening. Everyone can sleep peacefully in his or her own environment.
Limit Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol
I know, I know it’s the holidays and where’s the fun in that? But coffee, tea, soda, and nicotine often act as a stimulant, which will keep you awake. While alcohol can help you doze off initially it can cause more fragmented sleep throughout the night. Know your limits and stick to them.
Sweet Table Tip: Eat Smart!
Try to fill up more on the healthier snacks before the dessert buffet comes out so the impulse isn’t there to load your plate with too many chocolate and cookies. The sugar and carb overload can actually make it harder to fall asleep.
Turn off Tech and Keep it Out of The Bedroom
If you were on the “Nice List” and Santa gave you some new electronics for Christmas it’s important to make sure you give yourself a tech curfew and turn off all brightly lit screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime. Too many stimulating activities before bedtime can turn your sleep switch off and make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
Make it a New Years Resolution!
Create a family docking station in a main room in your home where everyone can plug in at night and keep electronics out of the bedrooms. Practicing this simple task will help ensure not only better sleep during the holidays for your entire family, but all year long.
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.