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No season is busier than the holiday season. With shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, and traveling, it can feel like there’s no time for anything else. During these hectic weeks, you may put sleep on the back burner due to a busy schedule and increased stress levels. To achieve better sleep during the holiday season, you should learn to relax and find comfort no matter where your plans take you.
How Stress Impacts Sleep
Stress and sleep quality are very closely intertwined. You may lose sleep because you’re stressed out, or you may be stressed out due to lost sleep. The holiday season often amplifies stress in many people due to increased responsibilities, events, travel and more.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress can prevent many adults and teens from getting the sleep they need to be healthy. Forty-three percent of adults have reported that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month, while forty-five percent feel very stressed if they do not get enough sleep.
Even minimal sleep deprivation can affect memory, judgment, and mood, while chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to health problems like obesity and high blood pressure.
Don’t fall victim to holiday stress. Some ways that you can manage your stress during the holiday season to obtain higher quality sleep include: writing down your to-do list, eating right, and exercising.
How Traveling Impacts Sleep
Traveling over the holidays can be stressful, especially if you’re entering different time zones. Jet lag can throw you off your normal sleep cycle and make it difficult to catch up on sleep while vacationing. For days on end, your body may tell you to wake up and go to sleep at abnormal times. If you are looking for better sleep during the holiday season, learn how to regulate your sleep and find comfort anywhere, no matter the circumstances.
How To Get Better Sleep While Traveling
If you’re wondering how to sleep better during the holidays, preparing your body for travel is a key factor. Flying, especially into a different time zone, can be a big adjustment to handle. A few ways to keep your sleep cycle as normal as possible while flying include:
- Ease yourself into the new time zone a day or two before your flight. Try to wake up and go to bed at appropriate hours in that time zone
- Avoid caffeine or other sleep-altering substances while flying, especially at night
- If you’re not sleepy when you should be — drink tea, especially tea that contains melatonin or chamomile, which naturally helps induce sleep
- Keep yourself busy. If your mind is not engaged, it will be hard to stay awake when you’re tired
- Reset your watch to the new time zone as soon as you board your flight or even a day before
- If sleeping on the plane makes sense, invest in a neck pillow so your neck isn’t sore when it’s time for bed
If you are driving rather than flying, lower your car seat and move it all the way back to give your legs as much room as possible (if you’re the passenger, that is). Find a soft, flexible pillow that you can rest your head on and a blanket for warmth and comfort. You can put in earplugs if the driver needs music to stay awake, and a sleep mask to steer clear of any unwanted light.
How To Sleep Better As A Guest
Holidays typically mean you are hosting or being hosted. If you’re being hosted, you may feel that it’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep when you arrive at your destination. Guests often assume they will get stuck on a stiff bed or couch in a home they are not entirely comfortable in or familiar with. To get better sleep when you are the guest, here are some tips:
- If you’re stuck on an air mattress or the floor, mattress toppers are very comfortable and will provide extra support.
- Laying sheets down on an air mattress, couch, futon, etc. will make it feel more like a bed and prevent contact with any less-than-comfortable surfaces.
- Half the battle is your sleep accessories. Bring your own fluffy pillows and soft blankets to make yourself feel more at home.
- Make your surroundings ideal for sleeping. Draw the curtains, set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature, etc.
Eat, Sleep, and Be Merry
While the holidays can certainly be stressful, it’s also a very pleasant and cheerful time of year. One way to get better sleep during the holiday season is to simply relax with loved ones and enjoy the festivities! Following these simple tips will help you sleep soundly no matter your schedule or location.
And if you're planning on having guests spending time with you this holiday season, be sure to drop by your local Mattress Warehouse to speak with one of our sleep experts. Give the gift of great sleep this season!