Sleep during the festive period
December is the month of excess, Christmas parties, going out too much, spending too much, overeating, overdrinking, stress and exhaustion. But what about sleep? Scroll down to find out what Niix Fit have to say.
There is only one thing we scrimp on at this time of year - sleep - and by Christmas day we often feel ready to crawl into bed with total burnout. But it is possible to survive the party season and make it through to the 25th in good health and good spirits by following a few simple tips.
1. Christmas celebrations:
Try to ensure you get a good night’s sleep the night before your Christmas party. Not only will this ensure you are glowing on the big day with the radiance of somebody who has got all their beauty sleep, but it will partially offset any sleep deficit you get on the night of your Christmas celebrations.
Try to drink plenty of water during the day and before bed, so you are fully hydrated. This will help with the potential hangover as even being mildly dehydrated can cause sleep deprivation.
Dehydration can cause dryness in the nasal and throat passages which can lead to sleep-disturbing snoring plus being fully hydrated can help dodge any night time cramps which may wake you.
2. Make sure the bed bugs don't bite:
Although it’s tempting to go out every night in December, getting enough sleep will help you fight off all of the bugs and germs that appear at this time of year.
Our bodies are equipped with natural killer cells which eliminate dangerous elements from our bodies. When sleep is limited, our immunity is challenged and these all-important killer cells are unable to protect us.
The Sleep Foundation says ‘while more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skimping on it could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to a bad cold or case of the flu’. They also recommend fitting in naps to catch up on sleep if you have been out late the night before.
We all know it can be hard to say no to a fun night out, but it is worth remembering how you will be refuelling your body with goodness by not saying yes to everything.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare:
If you know you are going to be out late, prepare your bedroom before you leave in case you simply crash into bed when you get home.
Pull your blinds or curtains or leave an eye mask on your pillow so you can sleep in maximum darkness - this will ensure you don’t get woken up before you are ready by the sun rising or any ambient light.
Set your alarm before you go out so you don’t sleep through your normal waking hour. Drinking alcohol can cause night sweats in some people so make sure your bedroom isn’t too warm and leave a glass of water by your bedside to rehydrate you.
Taking vitamin C before a night out can also help with a hangover the following day. Vitamin C will help block the conversion of alcohol into aldehyde, the most hangover-causing metabolite, which also causes very fast ageing and wrinkles. So it’s definitely worth having a stash of vitamin C on the shelf.
4. Wake up on time:
It is best to try to stick to your normal waking up time if possible, even if you’ve had a late night, because sleeping in late can disrupt your circadian rhythm. It is better to have a short nap in the afternoon if you really need one - taking one in the early to mid afternoon is best of up to 30 minutes (taking a nap later in the day might make it difficult to go to sleep at your normal bedtime). If you are still tired, go to bed earlier in the evenings to try to catch up on some of your sleep debt until you are back in a normal cycle of seven to nine hours’ sleep every night.
5. Recover fast and get yourself back to normal:
The day after your Christmas party is all about making the quickest recovery possible - the quicker you feel better, the more likely you are to return to good habits like eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. Although you may feel like a greasy fry-up, evidence shows that eating porridge with honey may be a better option as the complex carbohydrates provide a slow and steady release of sugar into the bloodstream and some studies have shown that honey can relieve hangover symptoms.
Whatever you eat, electrolytes in food help replenish a dehydrated system and get calories back into your body, helping you feel better. Drinking plenty of water, or eating fruit like watermelon, which has high water content, is also a good way of counteracting the dehydration.
Getting out into the fresh air also helps, so as soon as you can lift yourself off the sofa, it’s worth trying to go for a walk around the block to blow away the cobwebs. And although a hangover isn’t caused by lack of sleep, it can make it feel worse, so grabbing a nap if possible, will help heal your body.
6. Christmas stress:
Christmas is a time for celebration, spending time with friends and family and relaxing, although it can be a source of great stress…very often leaving us in a state of flux. Not only do we put pressure on ourselves to deliver the perfect Christmas, including fabulous presents, food, entertainment but we are all meant to feel relaxed and happy.
Often we are far from that. We may have lost a loved one, have work/money worries or just feel overwhelmed with everything there is to organise. Stress and sleep are closely linked, with stress affecting the quality and duration of our sleep and lack of sleep increases our stress.
Adding alcohol to the mix also affects our sleep. You may fall asleep quickly but alcohol reduces our restorative REM sleep affecting our memory, energy, cognitive functions and mood and leaving us more exhausted when we wake. In essence, making sure you get enough sleep and maintaining good sleep patterns will help you take on the pressures of Christmas and ensure you see in the festive season in good spirits.