The Christmas celebration is fast approaching, and everyone is probably running helter-skelter, trying to get everything set and ready for the big day.
The intensity of preparation this season has put many through sleepless nights because they are either too busy to sleep or find it difficult to sleep. If you are going through a tough time having a good night’s rest, we are here to help you with practical solutions.
Practical ways to have a restful sleep during the busy Christmas season
- Create a nightly ritual
Although this is the busiest time of the year, you can still make yourself a priority and create time for yourself. Before evenings, you should have at least an hour blocked out for yourself known as a nightly ritual to wind down.
This is where you engage in activities that help slow down your body, preparing it for the night's rest. Staying committed and consistent with this will help condition your body for a good night's rest.
- Exercise regularly
A good exercise is always the best remedy for anything and everything. Dedicate some minutes or hours to have a good workout, which could be done in the morning or at night, whichever time of the day suits you best.
Doing this regularly will not only strengthen your muscles but also helps reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and ultimately increase your total sleep time.
- Eat healthily and stay hydrated
Asides from the Christmas season being a gifting season, it is also an all-you-can-eat season. Just because everything is available doesn’t mean you have to eat everything.
Make your sleep a priority this season, and learn to be selective about what goes into your mouth. Make sure you eat your veggies, and fruits, and most importantly drink lots of water.
Healthy eating encourages your brain to provide the right neurotransmitters and hormones needed for adequate nighttime rest. Avoid taking in certain foods right before bedtime, such as spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine that can disrupt the sleep chemicals.
- Pay attention to your mental health and manage anxiety.
The reason why you don't sleep well at night may be because of the anxious thoughts that keep running through your mind concerning the different things you need to get done for the Christmas celebration.
Note that a well-relaxed mind is sure to get more things done easily compared to an anxious mind. So you ought to get yourself into a relaxed state this season by meditating more, having a to-do list, and prioritizing your activities. Find out more reasons why you might be finding it difficult to sleep at night from this article here.
- Avoid the use of electronic devices before bed.
All electronic devices have blue light, and they tend to distort one's sleep when used close to your bedtime. It distorts your circadian rhythm and reduces the production of hormones such as melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep at night.
- Avoid napping for long hours during the daytime.
Short naps during the day are beneficial and advised, but long irregular naps distort the sleep-wake cycle and increase the time it will take to fall asleep at night.
- Stick to a consistent sleep-wake time
Have a set time when you wake up and when you sleep. This helps to condition your sleep-wake cycle and encourages better sleep patterns. An irregular sleep-wake time distorts melatonin production resulting in poor sleep.
- Consider taking supplements
Melatonin hormone signals your brain the best time to fall asleep, so the supplements can offer the same benefits of improving your sleep quality. You should check with a healthcare provider before taking any medication for proper advice. Other supplements such as Magnesium, Glycine, or L-theanine, also help improve relaxation and promote better sleep.
- Make your bedroom comfortable.
Your bedroom should be well-optimized to provide a good night's rest. For a comfortable bedroom, you should consider factors such as a mattress, lighting, temperature, and bedroom organization to enable you feel comfortable and have a very restful sleep.
Investing in a weighted blanket is one recommended way to make your bedroom comfortable. Our Kocoono weighted blanket is sure to help you have a great sleep via deep pressure therapy.
Deep pressure therapy involves a mechanism that calms the nervous system by causing a decrease in the production of stress hormones such as cortisol while increasing the production of good hormones such as serotonin.
Check out this blog post to find out more how kocoono weighted blanket can help you sleep better.
- Take a relaxing bath before bed.
A relaxing shower at least 90 minutes before bed will help you have a great sleep. It should be one of the activities included as part of your nightly ritual.
- Create boundaries
You can make this season your “NO season” where you say no to certain responsibilities to give create time for the activities needed for a good night's rest. Remind yourself that you don’t need to do everything and that it’s ok to let some things go.
- Ask for help
If there are some responsibilities you can’t let go off or put for later, then you should seek help. You don’t have to be a one-man soldier all the time and, understandably, you need extra hands at this time to create more time for yourself.
Now that you know the practical ways to help you sleep better, let’s delve deep into the science behind sleep and more on the benefits of sleep.
The science of sleep and its benefits?
Sleep is a restorative process necessary for the effective normal functioning of the human body. Before we talk more about the benefits of sleep, let's discuss the science behind the sleep process.
There are two forms of sleep and four stages of sleep. The two forms of sleep include - REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep) and non-REM (non-rapid eye movement sleep). The four stages of sleep are;
Stage 1 - this is the first stage of non-REM sleep that involves the transition from an awake state to a sleep state.
Stage 2 - this second stage of non-REM sleep is a short period of light sleep before deep sleep and where you spend most of your sleep time.
Stage 3 - the last stage of non-REM sleep where you spend time sleeping deeply. This stage of sleep helps you to feel energized when you wake up.
REM sleep - this stage of sleep happens 90 minutes after falling asleep. Here you have your eyes rapidly moving underneath your eyelid and your brain active, so dreaming occurs here.
The brain structures that play different roles in the sleep process include - Hypothalamus, Thalamus, cerebrum, Brain stem, pineal gland, and amygdala.
The hypothalamus contains the suprachiasmatic nucleus that functions in receiving information about the amount of light passing through the eyes. This information is then sent to the brainstem to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
GABA hormone is produced from these structures to relax the arousal centers and the active muscles. The thalamus serves as a relay center to other parts of the brain and is usually turned off during the different stages of sleep but active during the REM stage.
The pineal gland produces melatonin in response to the signal from the suprachiasmatic nucleus during night time. The amygdala is the emotion center of the brain, so it is more active during the REM stage of sleep.
Asides from GABA, other chemicals play a role in the sleep process. They include; norepinephrine, orexin, acetylcholine, histamine, adrenaline, cortisol, adenosine, and serotonin.
Why should you prioritize your sleep time?
Sleep offers numerous benefits for the overall optimization of the body. Some of these benefits include;
- Maintenance of the neurochemical pathways responsible for learning and memory.
- Effective communication of brain nerve cells
- Removal of toxins accumulated in the brain during awake hours
- Proper functioning of all the body's systems
- Decrease in the risk of chronic disorders such as obesity, hypertension, or diabetes.
- Decrease in stress and promote a better mental health
- Sleep helps in the optimization of memory.
Nothing should be more important than getting your good night rest each day. Learn to prioritize your activities this Christmas and make time for sleep. Before you head out check out this blog post on thoughtful gift ideas for your loved one’s this Christmas.
Do you have any questions?
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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or mental health professional. In combination with your doctors' recommendations or other health care professionals, every little step will help to escape the depression spiral.