In Australia, the festive season is renowned for being an endless stream of work Christmas parties, family BBQ's and Secret Santa shopping frenzies. But what happens to your sleep habits throughout this period? For most, sleep is one of the first things to suffer in exchange for a few more pinot's or a late night Christmas feast with friends. And then we do it all again the next day! These are some of the times in life that should be embraced and enjoyed (no guilt tripping here), however, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you can enjoy the festive season without entering the new year in a shabby state.
We all need our phones for the necessaries during the festive season: communication with loved ones, work office selfies and the all-important Uber ride at the end of the night Uber. However, there should be a point at which that phone should be switched off or turned to night mode. For most phones there is a section in the display settings where you can adjust the screen to dim the brightness of the display. To go a step further you can also change the screen to red tones as opposed to blue light. There is building evidence to suggest blue light disrupts our sleep patterns. A recent study by the Harvard School of Medicine found evidence that the blue light on your phone and computer screens tells your brain that it is daytime. As a result, your body suppresses a hormone responsible for putting you to sleep: melatonin, which makes getting to sleep and staying asleep more difficult.
Manage your Stress
The holiday season can be overwhelming. In between your work party do’s, nanna’s traditional eggnog after putting up the Christmas tree and your friends asking you to a social event every other day it’s easy to see why people become a little stressed over Christmas. Managing your stress through relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and breathing techniques can be helpful to induce a more restful sleep. Meditation has also proven useful, but may not be accessible to some after a long day at work or who have young children. Another key point to keep in mind: if you are overrun and burnt out say no. It is perfectly okay to stay home after the third Christmas party of the week to get a good night's sleep and destress!
For an adult, the range of adequate sleep to remember is 7 to 9 hours per day. An unlikely helper for this goal is digital technology. Although it can be harmful to stay on your phone or tech devices too close to bedtime, there are apps that help track and log your sleep data whilst you sleep. There are plenty of sophisticated apps out there, but it can be as simple as logging the hours of sleep every day which can inform your sleep habits and allow you to maintain or adjust accordingly to improve your sleep!
So, this holiday season don't let your sleep fall to the wayside. Your wellbeing and ability to enjoy the festive season will be all the better for it!