Your Guide to a Christmas Sleep Detox
Around the festive period, sleep is rarely a priority. With all the gift giving, decorating, eating and drinking, the festivities may not have the best effect on your sleep. However, usually with Christmas holidays comes time off work, if you’re lucky enough. This makes it the perfect time to reset your body clock and catch up on sleep. We propose making the most of this time to undertake a Christmas sleep detox. Here’s how to achieve the best slumber around the Christmas period and start new year refreshed.
Stick to a Routine
This is easier said than done, right? With a calendar packed full of social events, the likelihood is you won’t make your usual early bedtime. However, the regular recommended 8 hours still apply over the festive season, especially if you’re attempting a Christmas sleep detox.
With adequate sleep, your body can increase muscle growth, recover your joints and restore your energy, which is essential after heavy partying. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even if it is a little later than you usually would wake up in the working week. As long as you have a routine your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) will naturally know when it’s time to wake up or go to sleep.
Avoid the naps!
Similar to the previous point, try to keep naps out of your routine. If you sleep during the day, you may struggle to drift off at night time, which will likely result in you feeling tired and wanting to nap again the following day. If you’ve had a late night and you’re urging to nap away a hangover, try to resist it. Instead get an early night after 9 pm so you can be fresh in the morning and ready for more festivities!
However, if you find you need to nap, try to stick to around 15-30 minutes maximum. This gives you a quick energy boost while still allowing you to sleep later on. Also, this type of nap keeps you in the lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement, meaning you won’t feel drowsy when you wake up.
When the weather’s chilly, chances are all you’ll want to do is stay in and get snug by the fire. However, daylight is essential for a sleep detox because it helps to calibrate your circadian clock and will result in you being able to drift off come bedtime. Getting an adequate amount of sunshine is especially important in winter when there are only a few hours of daylight. On top of this, exercise can also help you sleep. Therefore, a morning walk won’t only put you in a cheerier mood but allow you better sleep.
Schedule in Some Relaxation
As well as getting some fresh air and sticking to regular bedtimes, one of the best things you can do for a sleep detox is to schedule in some relaxation time. Life is often hectic and keeping up with deadlines and social events can leave you exhausted. This only gets more stressful during the Christmas period, which is a blur of present shopping and social events. Try to insist on some ‘me time’ before going to bed. This could be a warm bath, some meditation or even listening to music. Talking to Woman’s Day, Shelby Freedman, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Centre in Montefiore adds, ‘Keep a general schedule or ritual for that wind-down hour so your body and mind start to know that each step is one step closer to bed.
Again, easier said than done. While we always insist on eating, drinking and being merry throughout the festive period, it does come with precautions. Too many mince pies or too much-mulled wine can wreak havoc on your sleep. However, the earlier consumed the better. Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide says ‘if you plan to eat a heavy meal, you need a good few hours for it to digest’. Therefore, we recommend leaving it roughly 3-4 hours to let your stomach do its job before hitting the sheets.
The same applies to alcohol as it reduces REM sleep, so again try to have your last drink with dinner. If you’re trying to avoid a dreaded hangover, ensure you drink plenty of water in between the glasses of wine to help your Christmas sleep detox!
Credit: Dreams – Sleep Matters Club