Sleep deprivation is one of the most common problems people face during the holidays. Learn how to sleep better, so you don't feel awful the following morning!
Sleep deprivation is a problem that affects many people at different times in their lives. Holidays are when sleep routines are especially interrupted, which may cause headaches, mood swings, and even weight gain.
Holidays should be a restful period, but in retrospect, holidays commonly involve staying up later and sleeping in, then lazing around during the day or tackling the project you shelved months ago. It may sound like fun to dictate your timetable, but little regard is given to sleep quality during holidays. Have you ever wondered why most people feel so drained after a dream holiday? Besides travel fatigue, your sleep or normal circadian rhythms are negatively impacted. Quality sleep, which includes the different phases of sleep, is sometimes turned upside down, and it usually takes a few days to get back to normal.
Let's look at eight different ideas that will promote the same quality of sleep you are used to when back at the grindstone.
Stick to your bedtime routine
It's good practice to stick to your regular bedtime routine as much as possible. However, this is easier said than done when on holiday. Late-night entertainment with a group of friends, like dinner and dancing or strolls on a moonlit beach, are all part of the holiday enjoyment package.
Holidays are a time to relax and enjoy life at a slower pace, but too many people cram all they can into their time away from work. There is still the same number of daylight hours in the day for you to plan outings and enjoy leisure activities. Nights out should be planned around other activities and not packed into an energy-demanding day.
Your regular bedtime routine will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Winding down after a demanding day is an excellent way to prepare for sleep. Try setting aside 15 minutes before bed to relax with quiet activities such as reading, listening to music, or taking a warm bath. You will wake up feeling fresh and ready to meet the day.
Avoid Alcohol Before Going to Bed.
If you're having trouble sleeping, try avoiding alcohol before bedtime. It might make you more alert instead of relaxing you. Drinking more than usual while on holiday is a common mistake many people make. The idea that you don't have to get up early and have no work-related responsibilities to attend to the following day is a trap that says it's okay to indulge a bit more. What this does is place a damper on tomorrow. Many of us will attest that dealing with a hangover is no fun. Alcohol impairs rational thought and speech while dehydrating you and placing stress on your vital organs. Your body will have to work much harder to return to normal, which will naturally affect sleep.
Don't eat too late or go to bed hungry
Your regular meal routine might be disrupted during the holidays, and you may indulge in meals outside your regular healthy diet. Food is a big part of holiday enjoyment, and the tendency to go all out is a holiday reality. I'm sure we all know through experience that eating too late at night can cause indigestion, gas, bloating, and other digestive issues. So, try eating dinner no later than 7 p.m., and resist the urge to eat anything a few hours before bedtime. Also, avoid going to bed hungry as well.
Sneaking into the kitchen late at night to enjoy a midnight snack can be forgiven because holiday food is so enticing, but it's a practice that should be frowned upon. You are directly affecting your sleep quality by snacking during sleep time. Instead of your body focusing on repairing damaged tissue and "recharging," you put your digestive system and other systems to work. You are creating heat and energy from the late-night snacking that has to be processed somehow. I'm sure you are getting the idea of why people pick up the extra holiday weight.
Clinical studies have found that exercise improves sleep quality by reducing stress hormones and increasing melatonin levels. If you're not sleeping well during your holiday, try exercising during the day. Exercise helps with blood circulation and prevents the extra calories from those excellent holiday meals from turning into fat.
Regular exercise is necessary to stay healthy. You don't have to go to a gym or get involved in strenuous activities. All you need to do is to be active, like playing a game of golf. Walking and doing a few stretches or perhaps swimming, kayaking, or surfing will give you the daily exercise you need. Climbing steps while visiting places of interest is also a great exercise.
The exercise involves movement, and you will not be doing yourself any favors if you spend your day lazing around without the occasional swim, walk, or some form of activity.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking enough water during the day helps keep you hydrated throughout the night. It also helps reduce the number of times you need to go to the bathroom at night. This means less tossing and turning and more restful sleep.
Keep a glass of water on your bedside table so if you do wake up during the night feeling thirsty, you can have a few sips of water, roll over and go back to sleep. Waking up with a dry mouth is never lovely, and a few sips of water will do the trick. You don't have to get out of bed and face those delicious holiday snacks in the fridge if you have a glass of water beside you.
Try and limit your intake of drinks that promote dehydration, like alcohol and caffeine. It's also good to limit drinking energy drinks to quench your thirst.
While on holiday, you will most likely overindulge now and then, so at least be prepared. A lot of rich foods you are not used to, and too many party drinks can cause diarrhea which contributes to dehydration. Keep some Imodium pills and Rehydrate sachets handy. This will settle your stomach and replace lost electrolytes.
Staying hydrated is essential. If you're you're in a hot climate, drink enough water. Sweating from heat or holiday activities can lead to dehydration if left unchecked. Prevention is always better than the cure, so try and keep everything in moderation and opt for water over fizzy drinks.
Create a healthy sleep environment
If you're you're spending the holidays at home; then your sleep environment is most likely already perfect. On the other hand, holiday accommodation might look nice, but you may not have a comfortable sleep. The mattresses could be too firm or too soft, and the pillows may also take some getting used to.
A handy tip is to take your own pillows along and, if you can, take a few throws with them as well. Good quality throws will help to regulate our sleep temperature, and your trusty pillows will add to your comfort away from home.
Your sleep environment should be dark, quiet, and cool. Most holiday accommodation has air conditioning, thick bedroom curtains, and some noise insulation as well. When booking your holiday accommodation, you can ask about noise, temperature control, and what type of bedding is provided. It'sIt's still best to take along your own creature comforts, to be sure of a good night's sleep.
Try Stimulus Control
If you experience interrupted sleep where you wake up and battle to fall asleep again, you could try stimulus control. When you wake up, get out of bed and do something to divert your attention away from lingering worries or stress. Start reading a book or listen to some slow relaxing music until you feel sleepy again. In this way, you train your brain to associate your bed with sleep. Clinicians call this stimulus control.
You could also try having a warm bath and drinking some calming tea. Essential oils will also promote relaxation and set the mood for sleep.
Get morning sunlight
Morning sunlight is a powerful force that regulates our sleep timing and improves daytime alertness. The hypothalamus responds to light, and it is this part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite, and other functions. Ideally, you should bast in morning sunlight without wearing sunglasses or a hat for 15 to 30 minutes after you wake up. This is not always practical in northern hemisphere countries where only sunlight later in the morning during the winter months.
The lack of early morning sunlight can trigger winter depression of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This exposure to natural sunlight at sunrise influences our natural circadian rhythms that regulate our ability to sleep normally. You will be pleasantly surprised how much better you feel after a morning dose of sunlight.
To sum up
Try and stick to your sleep routine as much as possible during your holiday, as the smaller changes will be easier to manage. Plan your holiday and don't overload any given day because you may end up carrying over the effects of fatigue the next day.
Start each day by enjoying time in the early morning sunlight and end each day with a wind-down period before you go to bed. Holidays should be enjoyed, and if you pace yourself and do things in moderation, you will bank many fond memories of your relaxing time off.