8 Holiday Sleep Tips So You Don’t Become the Grinch!

 

The holidays can be full of magic, family fun, delicious foods and more but they can also be full of stress, guests and interruptions of your regular schedule. Here are some ways to ensure the holidays are enjoyable and you get all the zzz’s you need to bring joy this season!

  1. Get ahead of the holidays

This time of year is always hectic. There are many things that need doing, from decorating for the holidays to baking to shopping for presents, preparing for guests, and more. Many of us put these jobs off until the last minute, which makes for a stressful holiday. It is no fun to be running around on the eve of the holiday looking for the last-minute gifts you forgot to order or grocery shopping on the day of a big dinner.

To avoid stress and sleep deprivation, get a jump start on your holiday planning. Make a list of things that need to be done and begin to make a timeline for when the tasks need to be done. If after writing your to-do list you still feel overwhelmed, ask for help!

  1. Don’t overload yourself

The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and enjoying each other’s company. What better way to make your holiday less stressful than to recruit your family to help you prepare for the holidays? Plan a shopping trip or a baking day to help bring fun to tasks that can feel overwhelming. If you are hosting a dinner, ask family members to bring a dish to help minimize the amount you need to prepare.

  1. Don’t stop exercising

Active retired couple playing in the snow

Routine exercise is one of the greatest promoters of good, quality sleep. While it is tempting to take some time off during the holidays, don’t do it! It’s not only good for the body, it is great for the mind as well. Exercise is a great tool to help eliminate stress. You can always adapt your exercise routine around the holidays. If you have company staying, try picking activities that they can be included in, such as walks or outings. If you have young children, get outside and enjoy the outdoors, build a snowman, go snowshoeing or skiing, etc.

  1. Don’t overdo the snacking, especially at night.

All the yummy foods and desserts make an appearance this time of year, and the temptation to indulge can be a constant battle. It is ok to have some treats here and there, but stuffing yourself right before bed can cause your body to have to work harder to break down all that food while you are asleep. When your body has to focus more energy on processing those gingerbread cookies, it takes away from repairing and refreshing itself during sleep. Also late-night snacking can increase acid reflux, which can make falling asleep and staying asleep that much more difficult.

So what foods are best for nighttime snacking? Shredded wheat cereal with milk, or crackers and cheese, make great snacks. Complex carbs, milk and cheese are great at promoting sleep.

  1. Don’t drink too much

Drunken Gingerbread cookie man in a Christmas cocktail

Be aware of those tempting eggnog and peppermint specialty drinks this holiday.

While alcohol can induce drowsiness and help you fall asleep more quickly it can also disturb your rest and lessen the quality of your sleep. Alcohol decreases the amount of REM sleep, which is when dreaming occurs and learning and when memories are stored.

  1. Keep your regular sleep schedule

It is easy to stay up later than normal, catching up with old friends, attending Christmas parties, wrapping presents, etc. but those late nights can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. It is important to keep your regular sleep schedule, but if disruptions are unavoidable, try to limit them to no more than an hour off your regular schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to mood and behavior changes, so if you don’t want to become Scrooge, make sure that sleep is a priority.

If you are traveling across time zones, it can be harder to keep your regular schedule. Try to maintain as close to a regular sleep schedule as possible, especially on “mini vacations,” so it won’t affect you in the long run.

  1. Turn off that technology

Mom with child reading book and relaxing by the fire place some cold evening, winter weekends, cozy scene

To promote restful sleep, it is best to have a relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off tablets, phones, computers, etc. at least an hour before bed to allow your brain to “power down.”

Electronic devices emit a light similar to that of daylight. Our brains get tricked by this light, as it associates it with daylight, which can delay the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.

Be sure to not let the holidays rob you of that sweet, deep slumber you not only crave, but need to make it through to the new year.

Top 10 Best and Worst Cities for Sleep

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Ever wonder where your city ranks for getting the best night’s sleep?

Here’s a study that has the answer. Find out if your city made the top 10.

“Sleep in the City” Study Examines Relationship Between Sleep and Happiness

A new study unveils the best and worst cities in America for getting a restful night’s sleep. Minneapolis was ranked as the best place for restful sleep while Detroit was identified as the least likely city in which to wake up. New York City is notorious for being “the city that never sleeps.” Perhaps that’s why it was ranked 6th among the worst cities for sleep.

The analysis was based on five criteria, including:

  1. Happiness index
  2. Number of days when residents didn’t get enough rest or sleep during the past month
  3. Average length of daily commute
  4. Divorce rates
  5. Unemployment rates

 

Best Cities for Sleep

  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Anaheim, CA
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Northern NJ
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Austin, TX
  10. Kansas City, MO

 

Worst Cities for Sleep

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Cleveland, OH
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Cincinnati, OH
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. New York, NY
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Miami, FL
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. St. Louis, MO

 

For the best-ranked cities for sleep, the study found higher scores for overall happiness and low unemployment. The cities that scored poorly on number of nights with good sleep also had low scores on measures of happiness, and were established as the worst cities for sleep overall. According to the study, Detroit earned the distinction as the worst place for sleep due to a low number of nights with good sleep, along with a high unemployment rate and a low happiness index. Minneapolis was identified as the city where residents may have the easiest time getting a restful night’s sleep. Other factors that helped Minneapolis clinch the title of best city for sleep were a high score on the overall happiness index, a short commute time, and low unemployment.

For more information on this sleep study, visit HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trouble Sleeping In A New Place? Blame It On Your Brain.

 

business travel hotel

Have you ever had trouble sleeping when you are in a new place? Do you toss and turn or easily wake when you travel or sleep somewhere other than your own bedroom? If so, you are not alone. According to a new study published in the journal “Current Biology,” it is a very normal occurrence for your first night’s sleep in new surroundings to be less than satisfactory.

Brain

Researchers at Brown University found that, similar to some animals, only half of the human brain “sleeps” the first night a person sleeps in a new environment. Research showed that the left hemisphere of the brain, the more logical and analytical side, was still actively “awake” throughout the night. The researchers believe that it is our brain’s way of “keeping watch” in unfamiliar territory. Though humans no longer worry about predators lurking in the darkness, our brains evolved during a time when that threat was very real.

So next time you are traveling or house sitting, plan accordingly, because your first night of sleep away from home will most likely not be as good as usual.

For more information, check out NPR’s article, “Half Your Brain Stands Guard When Sleeping In A New Place.”

 

 

ARE ALARM CLOCKS GOOD FOR US?

 

640px-Trento-Mercatino_dei_Gaudenti-alarm_clocksIt’s 6 am and you are startled awake out of a deep sleep by a horrific beeping noise. You groggily open your eyes and try to find the source of that annoying noise. Then your brain catches up and you realize it is your alarm clock.

Vast majorities of people use alarm clocks almost daily. They are hard to live without, as they ensure that we wake up early for work, school or other functions. But are alarm clocks really helpful?

The answer is YES! Natural light is better to wake up to than an alarm clock.

According to research by the National Institute of Industrial Health in Japan, although using an alarm clock maybe the most popular choice, waking up to a jolting noise can be bad for your heart. Waking up abruptly can cause higher blood pressure and heart rate. Besides increasing your blood pressure, an alarm can also increase stress levels by getting your adrenaline rushing.

There is another option for waking up to the shrilling of an alarm clock: letting your body wake naturally to light.

Here are a few simple tips to try:

  • Crack your blinds/curtains so natural light can enter your room.
  • Position your bed so the sun strikes it at an appropriate time of day.
  • Try to wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, so your body can become accustomed to a new sleep schedule.
  • If you need to wake up before the sun rises, try using a timer for your bedroom lights.

Try implementing these tips into your routine for a better and healthier start to the day!

5 Easy Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

 

Do you lie in bed for hours, staring at the clock? Do you wake up feeling groggy and slow? Lack of sleep can do a lot more than make you have a bad morning—it can hurt your mental and physical health. This video will explore why getting that shut eye is so important, and it will teach you five easy ways to get all the refreshing sleep you need.

Surprise! Sleep Deprivation Affects Emotional Intelligence

Excitement

It is 8:00 am, pre-coffee (if that’s your thing), and you’re getting ready to walk out the door after a night of staying up with your sick spouse, child, or roommate. You’re starting to feel super-human, juggling all your pre-work morning responsibilities with a heavy head and groggy eyes, when your spouse/child/roommate walks up to you and asks an innocent question: “I’m hungry. What are we having for breakfast?” You look at their cheerful face and take instant offense. You think, “What do you mean, what’s for breakfast? Can’t you see I’m simultaneously feeding the dog, prepping the beans for tonight’s slow-cooker dinner, and reading Junior’s school newsletter?

According to a new U.C. Berkeley study published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this week, there is a strong link between a lack of quality sleep and decreased ability to distinguish between positive and negative emotional facial expressions in others. Researchers viewed brain scans and monitored the heart rates of 18 adult participants while they randomly viewed 70 images of faces with random expressions: positive, neutral, and negative emotions. Each individual viewed the facial images twice, once when they were fully rested and once after they had been awake for 24 consecutive hours. The study noted a neural link between the quality and amount of sleep a person gets and his or her ability to correctly process others’ facial expressions. The results of the study inferred that there is “a role for REM sleep in affective brain recalibration” and “the next-day success of emotional discrimination…” Sleeping_angel All the more reason to get a good night’s sleep!   For more information on the study, you can refer to the following articles: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/14/brain-facialexpressions/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/15/sleep-brain-emotions_n_7801726.html