While this time of year seems like one full of joy and fun, most people are actually quite stressed. One only needs to take a moment to look around the shops, and you find people looking rushed and hardly smiling. It is no surprise to me; we live in a world where social media increases the expectations year after year of better gifts, homemade everything, insta-worthy food, and lots of calendar invites. It can be hard for the average person, balancing work and family, to keep up. Instead of taking days off, most people will cut corners on their own health: giving up time for exercise or shaving time from their nightly slumber. I think it is important to remember that you won’t be able to enjoy the time or the effort you put into the holidays if you are overtired, or worse, get run down and ill. This month, I want to highlight some tips to help you get the best sleep that you can so you can enjoy the season.
- Keep a notepad by your bedside. A lot of times, I hear clients say they cannot fall asleep because they suddenly remember things they forgot to do during the day, and if they fall asleep, they may forget. Rather than hopping onto Prime at 11 PM or running downstairs to wrap something, write down what you need to do so you can do it in the morning.
- Avoid stimulants close to evening. Caffeine is only helpful when it isn’t causing you to end up more exhausted. Try to limit consumption after 3 PM, so you aren’t wound up all night resulting in being a zombie the next day.
- Continue to exercise. It may seem like something selfish when there is so much else to do, but this is terribly important for your health and also sound sleep. Try to carve out 20-30 minutes a day of exercise, even if it is broken up in 10-minute increments.
- Focus on proper lighting. Getting some time out in natural light every day helps to regulate our sleep cycle. This can be hard in colder climates, but timeout when it is light outside and then keeping lights dim when it gets dark is important to send our brain those signals that rest is coming. Be sure to also limit light from any screen within a couple hours of wanting to go to sleep.
- Routine is key. Have a relaxing bedtime routine that signals to your brain that rest is coming: take a bath or shower, wash your face, read a book, or take time for silent reflection.
Get some rest and enjoy the final month of this year! In health, Angela