The holidays are a joyous time, they allow us to catch up with loved ones, take time off from work, give and receive gifts. But with all the festivities surrounding them, our normal patterns are often thrown off whack. We’re sleeping less, eating and drinking more, undergoing more stress than normal–sometimes financially and personally. And by the end of it all, we feel burnt out. Leaving our immune systems feeling shut down, which isn’t so great as we enter the true winter months.
I’m speaking from experience here because I have literally been on the go for the past several weeks, and am currently on my last leg. Along with some strong medicine, what I truly need right now is rest and to get back to my normal sleep routine.
Sleep is beneficial to our bodies for a number of reasons. It helps reduce stress, strengthens our immune systems, helps our brains be more effective and productive, improves memory, mood, and more. And as we enter peak time for the flu and seasonal depression it’s important we do our best to prioritize it.
So, after all the excitement dies down, how exactly do you reclaim your sleep routine? Here are a few tangible tips you can put into action now:
Go Into Hibernation
I don’t know about you, but I made way too many commitments this holiday season. Beforehand, I told myself this would be a time to relax and recharge, but before I knew it I had overcommit myself. I said yes way too much, and stayed out way too late. Now, this doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up over it, ’tis the season. But after it’s all said and done, it’s time to cut back.
Be direct and transparent when asked to make plans. Overextending yourself for the sake of sparing others will only leave you feeling depleted. Instead, ask if they’d be open to rescheduling to the following month and let them know that you’re taking January to recalibrate. Those who truly care about your wellbeing will understand. And by taking this time for yourself, you’ll be more present when it matters.
Send Your Phone to Bed First
Prior to the holidays, I had a great routine of giving my phone a bedtime. Instead of scrolling endlessly before bed, I’d put it on the charger in my kitchen around 8 pm. I usually go to bed around 10/10:30, and I’d leave my phone in the kitchen as I slept. This not only helped me wind down leading up to my actual bedtime, but it prevented me from getting up and scrolling first thing in the morning.
The blue light from our phones stimulates our eyes and brains, making it more difficult to drift off into a restful night’s sleep. So it’s a good idea to limit your usage a few hours before bed.
Modify Your Diet and Dinner Time
Crash dieting and fasting post-holidays isn’t for everyone, and that’s completely okay. What’s more important and effective is being mindful and finding a way to have a more balanced diet. The holidays welcome excess, so afterward is a good time to slow things down.
Try snacking on healthier foods throughout the day to curb your appetite, also, incorporate more fruits and veggies. You can also cut back on carbs and red meat to help your digestive system and manage gut health. When it comes to food and your sleep routine, you should also be mindful of when you eat. Try to have dinner before 8 pm to give your body enough time to digest food and stabilize your blood sugar levels for a more restful sleep.
One of the best ways to regulate your sleep routine is to try to be consistent with it. Develop a bedtime and stick to it. After a while, your body will adapt and get sleepier more easily during this time. Same with when you wake up. After a while, you may no longer need an alarm.
Modify Your Bedroom Habits
I’m a firm believer in our beds being for two things: sleep and sex. The more activities we perform in bed, like eating, watching TV, scrolling on our phones and laptops, the harder it is to fall asleep. Make your bed and your bedroom a sanctuary of sleep by taking all the other activities out of that room.
If you happen to have a roommate and don’t like to be in the living room for some reason, try purchasing an affordable yet comfy chair or bean bag that you can sit in while doing these activities to help keep your bed separate and sacred.