Christmas is officially in the air - we know it's early, but the decorations are up, the parties are scheduled and the nightmare of Christmas shopping is starting to become a reality. In tonight's episode of The Goodnight Show, Shea shares her tips for maintaining good sleep habits and your sleep routine over the silly season.
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This year has gone by in the blink of an eye; Christmas is going to be here faster than you can say “Santa” and chances are your social commitments are looking more and more like a full-time job. Whether you love it, or you’re a bit of a Christmas Grinch, this season is all about family time, the feasting and the festivities.
Undoubtedly at this time of year, our well-practiced health and self-care routines become a little bit more aspirational than realistic. We may not have time to hit the gym, or stick to our usual food choices, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still prioritise getting our best sleep and waking up the jolliest version of ourselves!
Many of us deplete our energy to meet our deadlines, and get everything finished in the lead up to Christmas and New Year, thinking it will pay dividends when we can catch up on sleep, stress-free over the break. Sadly, as we discussed in an earlier episode “Why Banking Sleep Doesn’t Pay Dividends”, sleep doesn’t operate on a pay-it-forward basis. And if you’re anything like me, the Christmas period isn’t all stress free - cue children on holidays, Christmas shopping and a whole lot of entertaining on the to-do-list. Lost sleep is lost sleep, and has negative effects on your metabolism. Plus, catching up later only creates more confusion for our natural body clocks. My tip: take the pressure off, and most importantly, maintain consistent, healthy sleep patterns throughout the season. You will seriously be thanking yourself for sticking to your regular sleep pattern as much as possible.
Christmas drinking… everyones favourite festive activity. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing the pop of a champagne bottle and ‘cheers!’-ing to Christmas. In saying that, alcohol is one of the most significant disruptors to our sleep. Now, I’m not telling you to skip the celebratory booze, but I am going to give you some tips to make the most of the silly season, without alcohol ruining all your healthy habits - or your days!
While alcohol is a great sleep inducer, it blocks our ability to fall into the REM stage of sleep, where our critical healing and restoration occur. Luckily, it's not all bad - one to two standard drinks have been shown to have a very minimal effect on sleep. If you are going to over-indulge a little - and hey, you’ve earned it - my two top tips are to match your water to alcohol ratio, and to set yourself a clear cut off time. It can be especially easy to get carried away when we’re surrounded by loved ones, however we recommend you call it a day on the alcohol about 3 hours before your head hits the pillow.
Food, food and more food. It’s not unfamiliar to hear the term ‘food coma’ tossed around the Christmas table. And yes, it is a real thing! Scientifically, this is called postprandial somnolence, and refers to post-meal drowsiness. You might be wondering why this happens: well, your brain is sending signals to your digestive system and directing blood away from the rest of your organs causing you to feel sleepy.
But, filling up your stomach is not the answer to your sleep problems! Sleeping after you eat is a bit of a no-no for your body. Your body is most comfortable digesting food in an upright position, so lying down with a full stomach affects your digestion process. Not to mention, it’s uncomfortable. I recommend having your Christmas dinner at least 2 hours before hitting the hay. That’s just enough time to sit, socialise and do all the fun jobs (like the dishes) before you head to bed! If a lunch is on the cards and you just can’t wait until night time, take a 10-20 minute nap to feel refreshed without affecting your sleep that night.
We’re about to gift wrap 2021 and send it on it’s merry way. This year has been a more challenging year than most for a lot of people and a lot of us won’t be sad to see it go. There’s so much cause for celebration - so, cheers, enjoy it, and continue to prioritise yourself. I’ll drink to that!