The holidays can be an exceptionally fun and joyful time – but they can also be completely overwhelming And with so many holiday events, obligations, and to-dos to check off your list, it can be easy to push sleep to the bottom of the priority list, leaving you feeling completely exhausted and drained in the new year.
So the question is, how can you prioritize sleep on vacation—and make sure you’re getting the amount and quality of rest you need to feel and function at your best?
Why is prioritizing sleep so important during the holiday season?
First things first – before we jump into how to prioritize sleep during the holidays, let’s touch on why it’s important to start prioritizing sleep during this busy time of year.
“Although the holiday season is often thought of as a joyous time full of celebration, it’s also typically the busiest time of the year—and for many can be mentally, emotionally and physically taxing. [people]says Vanessa Osorio, Certified Sleep Science Coach at Sleepopolis.
And all that stress can throw you off your regular sleep routine, “leading to more mental, emotional and physical exhaustion,” says Osorio.
This can be a vicious cycle; You feel stressed, overwhelmed, and tired, so it’s hard to get the sleep you need—and you feel increasingly stressed, overwhelmed, and tired because you don’t get enough sleep.
And the longer it lasts, the more impact it will have on your health, happiness and well-being.
“In addition, this lack of sleep will negatively affect your mood, cognitive performance and immune system, increase your risk of getting sick and make it difficult for you to enjoy the holiday season together,” says Osorio.la.
So, if you want to be rested, happy, and present during the holiday season and engaged with your friends and family, make sleep a priority—and make sure you’re getting enough high-quality Zzz’s every night.
But how, exactly, do you do it?
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
With so many holiday obligations, it can be easy to throw off your normal sleep schedule. (For example, you might be staying up late to attend a holiday party or waking up early to wrap presents before your kids wake up.)
But if you want to continue to get the rest you need to feel your best over the holidays, it’s important to stay consistent with your sleep schedule as much as possible.
“The brain needs routine to function well, and this routine is especially important during sleep,” says SleepingOcean.com medical expert Dr. Po-Chang Hu. “Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day will help the brain stick to a consistent circadian rhythm. This usually results in improved sleep quality and better rest.”
Aim to go to bed at the same time every night – and wake up at the same time every day. If you get a night off (for example, you stay up late on a holiday and sleep in the next day), try to get back on schedule. When you’re consistent with your sleep schedule, it usually results in more consistently good sleep—which then feels consistently better throughout the day.
Plan ahead to minimize holiday stress and to-dos
As mentioned, there is a lot to do during the holidays. And if you wait until the last minute to get everything, you may be tempted to sacrifice sleep to knock off everything on your vacation to-do list.
That’s why, if you want to make vacation sleep a priority, it’s important to have a plan for how you’ll get everything done—and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to work through that plan.
For example, “it’s good to prepare decorating and shopping lists in advance to reduce workload when the season starts,” Hu says “If possible, people can do their holiday shopping in advance.”
The more organized you are with your holiday to-dos (and the more time you give yourself to complete them), the less likely you’ll be scrambling to get everything done as the holidays approach—and the less likely you’ll suffer the consequences of sleep deprivation.
Say “no” when you (and your body!) need to
Sometimes, if you want to say “yes” to getting the sleep you need on vacation, you have to say “no” to something else.
“As tempting as it is to say ‘yes’ to every party or festival you’re invited to[it’s important]during the holiday season to listen to your body and take time to rest when you need it,” says Osorio.[duringtheholidayseasonit’simportanttolistentoyourbodyandtakethetimetorestwhenyouneedto”saysOsorio[ছুটিরমরসুমেআপনারশরীরেরকথাশোনাএবংযখনআপনারপ্রয়োজনতখনবিশ্রামনেওয়ারজন্যসময়নেওয়াগুরুত্বপূর্ণ”ওসোরিওবলেছেন।[duringtheholidayseasonit’simportanttolistentoyourbodyandtakethetimetorestwhenyouneedto”saysOsorio
If you struggle to say “no” or set boundaries in how you spend your time during the holidays—whether it’s bouncing from one holiday event to another or working through a seemingly endless holiday to-do list—it may be that you Forgoing sleep for your holiday obligations is helpful in focusing on what you have to lose.
“I would encourage people to think about all the negative consequences of sleep deprivation every time they want to rest to finish their holiday,” Hsu said. “It can help them delegate certain things or, for example, eliminate certain tasks that are not important.”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, changing your sleeping habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.