The silly season is upon us, in all its glory. But while many of us are looking forward to some downtime, we all know that the downtime is limited once you have to face the stress that often comes with the holidays.
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Generally, the holidays are a really special time of the year. This is the time to catch up with loved ones, treat yourself to some delicious food and unwind. But it’s also the time of the year to get the children ready for the holidays, put up decorations, get all those gifts bought and wrapped, organise or cook up a storm, bake…the list of things to do during your “downtime” is likely to be so long that you won’t have any downtime. Instead, you’ll wipe your eyes and it will be January and work will be days away.
Our lives are like a never-ending sprint, and all that stress, especially the stress of the festive season can have a damaging effect on your sleep. While a lot of the stress around the festive season is self-created, after all, we don’t have to make the fuss that we usually do, there is no reason that you have to let the holidays rob you of precious sleep. If you are enjoying great sleep, perhaps you will actually start looking forward to the season.
Our sleep tips for the holidays
To help you face the chaos that is modern Christmas. To ensure that you have enough energy to deal with family and the crowds you will encounter in the malls. To assist you in getting through the season, here are our top sleep tips.
It’s already December but it is still early enough to get a head start on all of the things on your to-do list. If you are anything like me, you probably hate the crowds you seem to run into regardless of where you go at this time of the year. They’re in the malls, they’re in the shops, they are everywhere. And how are you supposed to get anything done in time when fighting your way through the crowds?
And it’s not just the shopping that you can get a head start on. You can also give your home a spring cleaning if you are having family around and should you be going away, it would be a good idea to have your planning and your bookings all in place already.
The moment you feel properly prepared for this time of the year, even though you might be putting some things on hold until the last moment, you will feel more at ease and less rushed. Feeling less stressed also means you are likely to sleep well, knowing that you have got a head start on everything that needs to be done.
Take it easy
What is the point of having time off and not enjoying it for a moment? When we rush through the final weeks of the year, even though we’re not at work, we end up ruining what could otherwise be a fantastic break. This is the ideal time of the year to spend some time with the family you don’t really get to see much of during the year. If you are having family stay with you, then get everyone involved with something in the house. And then take them shopping with you. This way you won’t get overloaded with all of the work and you will also get everything done in time for Christmas.
Not only will you be relaxed enough to sleep well each night, but bonding with your family will also help to lift your moods.
Don’t shun your sleep schedule
One thing that we are all tempted to do during the silly season is shift around our sleeping patterns. You’ll be tempted to go to bed later, and sleep later as well. This will throw off your sleep schedule and result in lower quality sleep. By having a confused sleep schedule, you will be more inclined to be moody, something that will completely ruin the few days that you have to spend with family. This sleep deprivation can happen so easily when you are socialising and completely unaware of the time.
If possible, try to get to bed at the same time every night and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Keep on exercising
This is the time of the year for diets to be forgotten and delicious foods to be devoured. It is also the time of year when you are quite likely to give exercising a skip, because you are too busy enjoying the complete change in routine. But once you stop your exercise routine, the quality of your sleep might begin to suffer. We’re not saying hit the gym in earnest, we’re saying take a jog around the block and keep fit, for the sake of your sleep and for the sake of your body (think of all that food).
During this time of year, you also have the opportunity to bond with family doing something outdoors, such as swimming in a local dam or going hiking.
Enjoy some time outdoors
What better time to get some sun on your skin than by spending more time than usual outdoors. In South Africa, we are lucky that Christmas falls during the summer months. This gives us the ideal opportunity to spend some of our time off soaking up the sun and just relaxing outdoors. Being outdoors will also do wonders for your sleep. Not being in the sun enough is often a cause of bad sleep. The more vitamin D you get, the better you will sleep. And let’s not forget the benefits of clear, fresh air for your tired brain.