Iowa Sleep Blog

Sleeping Well During the Holidays

Monday, November 16, 2015

The holiday season is a joyful time of year, full of family, friends, and giving thanks for the many blessing we each have. But, it can also be stressful between the shopping, parties, events and travel, whether that’s around Des Moines or outside of Iowa. Don’t let the stress of the “most wonderful time of the year” start affecting how you sleep at night.

Here are a couple easy tips to make this holiday season less stressful and easier to get more zzz’s:

  • Practice a relaxation technique – When dealing with high stress situations, no matter what they are, it’s important to develop a way to deal with the stress. For many, it might be an extra session at the gym, taking time each evening to unwind with a cup of tea and a book, or ending the day with a relaxing activity. By taking time to de-stress, it will help make falling asleep a little easier.
  • Don’t change your schedule – Even when you come home late from a holiday party or have a red-eye flight, try to stick to your schedule as much as possible. Continue to wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed around the same time each night.
  • Avoid eating within two hours of bed time – Avoid eating heavy foods or fatty snacks too close to bedtime. The time it takes for your body to digest these foods can disturb your natural sleep cycle. The same goes for alcohol. Having an adult beverage late into the evening may make you feel sleepy, but it will actually affect your REM sleep later in the night.

The holidays also affect your children and their schedules. Here are some sleep tips for your littlest of sleepers:

  • Skip the nap – If your little ones have grown out of their nap times, avoid letting them nap during the day, as it can mix up their schedules. If a quick nap time is needed, only put them down for no more than an hour and not within three hours of their bedtime.
  • Stick to the routine – Even though we talked about this for adults, it was worth repeating again. Do everything you can to stick to your children’s established schedule. Try to get them up and going at the same time each morning and each night.
  • Make them comfortable – If you’ll be staying in hotels or other places unfamiliar to your children, try to make them feel as comfortable as possible by bringing familiar items along, like a blanket, nightlight or photo to place by the bed.

The holidays should be a fun and exciting time with family and friends. Once the traveling and parties end and the visiting guests all return homes, if you notice you’re having difficulties staying or falling asleep, check out some to the resources available on our site, our drop our doctors a question through our ask a question form. Sleeping well each night is an important part of overall health and our doctors are dedicated to evaluating your sleep habits to allow you to sleep well each night.