Joy to the world! Peace on earth! Happy holidays! Or is it? This is one of the most stressful times of the year for many. Family time, travel, gifts to buy, meals to prepare, etc. We want this time of the year to be merry and bright for our family and friends. Feeling overwhelmed is an under-statement.
Kick off December by giving yourself the gift of a wholistic approach to survive the holiday season.
Day 1: Oh, Holy Night!
It’s imperative that during the holidays you stick to your sleep schedule. Did you know that while you are sleeping your brain is working very hard performing some of it’s more important functions? During sleep, your brain cleans itself! That’s right! It is ridding itself of cellular debris and toxins that are created during the day. When you experience a night of restlessness, you are more likely to wake up feeling irritable, angry, sad, and/or stressed. Feelings we do not want to experience during the holiday season!
Tips and Strategies:
Prioritize sleep every night! Your goal should be to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Especially during the holiday season where many are dealing with additional stressors.
Eliminate any bad sleep habits.
A bedroom that is too warm.
Light in the bedroom.
Gadgets and devices next to the bed.
Screens (TV, iPhone, Ipad)
Going to bed angry or worried.
Consuming or using alcohol, nicotine and/or marijuana.
Participating in exercise within 4 hours of going to bed.
Eating too close to bed time.
3. Engage and participate in healthy sleep habits.
Be sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet.
Deal with any worry or stress before going to bed. Consider journaling or praying about any negative thoughts that may be causing stress.
Create a regular sleep schedule. Do your best to go to sleep every night at the same time and waking up every morning at the same time.
Read a book. And, not a book that is too stimulating.
Sound therapy. Consider soothing nature sounds, soft music. Check out Barry Goldstein at mybrainfitlife.com.
Drink a cup of warm, unsweetened almond milk. Maybe add a teaspoon of vanilla (the real thing) to increase serotonin.
Wear socks. Warm feet may allow you to fall asleep more quickly.
Lavender oil to improve sleep and decrease anxiety.
Create and participate in a soothing evening routine. It sets the tone that you are winding down and preparing for bed and sleep.
4. Consider taking nutraceuticals to help with sleep.
Melatonin is a neurohormone that is responsible for regulating the sleep cycle. Supplementing with melatonin has been found to lessen the time it takes to fall asleep, increases the number of hours you sleep, and allows you to feel more alert in the morning upon awakening. Melatonin also increases the production of serotonin. Recommended dosage: 0.3 to 6 mg a day.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) helps to boost serotonin. Its’s especially helpful to those who tend to worry and have difficulty turning their thoughts off at bedtime. 5-HTP calms the activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus. (https://www.amenclinics.com/blog/6-things-stop-worrying-today/). Recommended dosage: 50-200 mg a day.
Magnesium glycerinate or citrate is a very important mineral to the human body. In the brain, it helps to activate GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric Acid) receptors that calm the brain and reduce anxious thoughts at bed time. Recommended dosage: 40-400mg a day.
GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric Acid) is an amino acid that creates a calming effect and promotes relaxation. This nutraceutical be very helpful with sleep. Recommended dosage: 250-1,000 mg a day.
Ok! So that's Day1 of the 12 Days of Christmas! Be sure and tune in tomorrow for Day 2...
AMEN, DANIEL G. “S Is for Sleep.” End of Mental Illness: How Neuroscience Is Transforming Psychiatry and Helping Prevent or... Reverse Mood and Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Addictio, TYNDALE MOMENTUM, S.l., 2022, pp. 275–287.