Santa sleeping better during the holidays

Changing seasons means changing habits which could mean changing the way you sleep. The holidays are no exception, as both the joy and stress of celebrating this festive time of year could make sleep more difficult. While enjoying the yuletide cheer, there are a few things you can do to make sure that you stay well-rested, such as:

Cutting back on the coffee and alcohol

These two beverages may be on different ends of the drink spectrum, but they both can affect your sleeping ability. Coffee contains the stimulant caffeine, which can help combat drowsiness in the morning. However, taking it later in the day, especially at night, can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant. Drinking alcoholic beverages may increase sleepiness by speeding up production of adenosine in the brain, but there’s a catch. Your sleep onset may be quicker at the risk of unbalancing your REM sleep, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. Both of these drinks would be better suited earlier in the day in milder quantities.

Keeping your same sleep schedule

It might be tempting to stay up all night watching holiday movies, but you might regret it in the morning as you feel drowsy. Your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal sleep-wake regulator) is based on your sleep routine. However, this cycle is regulated by light and darkness, so a few nights staying up past your bedtime can change your exposure to daytime and nighttime hours, similar to how seasons change. As a result, you may find yourself needing a nap earlier in the day.

Modifying your travel schedule

The holiday season is considered to be the busiest times of year for traveling as relatives go to different cities, states, or countries. Long days and nights on the road could put you at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel, so be sure to stop every few hours to rest and book a place to sleep if necessary.

As for air travel, switching time zones can leave you prone to jet lag and throw off your circadian rhythm. If you choose to fly, you can limit this by sleeping well the night before your flight, relaxing with eye masks and ear plugs, or by switching to later flights so that you’re not rushed to the airport in the morning.

Managing your stress

As much fun as the holidays can be, they can also be stressful between balancing schedules, budgeting for gifts, and expectations about plans. These stressors are normal, but they can keep you more alert during the day and keep you up at night and limiting your sleep. Even worse, the lack of sleep you receive may end up being a stressor in and of itself.

A few ways to manage your stress include planning your activities, travel, and budget well in advance, taking time for yourself to relax, and confiding in the people around you. You can also limit your intake of sugary snacks that might increase your agitation.

The holidays are meant to be a time to unwind and relax with your loved ones, but poor sleep can ruin those plans. Sleep apnea can also make it hard to rest during this time, but treatment is available at CEENTA. Our sleep specialists are trained to diagnose sleep apnea and provide treatment options like the Inspire Sleep Apnea Treatment to get your sleep back to normal. Schedule an appointment with a CEENTA sleep specialist today for a more enjoyable holiday season.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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