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The holidays can be both a source of happiness and stress. Most of us can enjoy the holidays more if we consider the following small & straightforward changes. So then you can get the best sleep through the longest nights of the year and beyond!

Before diving into these habits, check out my sleep book—The Deep Blue Sleep, A Roadmap to Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep Naturally. 

HABIT #1 – Going off your regular eating schedule & regime

The winter holidays are a time to enjoy more decadent food and drinks. 

Three things can happen as a result:: 

  • We eat more sweets and carbs. 
  • We drink more alcohol. 
  • We are more inconsistent with meal times and portion sizes.

What happens in our bodies because of this? 

Sleep is not as good; we feel more fatigued, we get more anxious, and we feel more stress in our bodies and minds.

How to fix this habit to sleep better

  • Always eat breakfast within 1 hour or so from waking up. Include 20 to 25 grams of protein, small amounts of healthy carbs and fat. Because of this, you will have more energy, feel less anxious, and make better food choices throughout the day. 
  • Eat three times per day at the same time. It will give your body the nutrition it needs, so it will be much easier to keep the portion small when you indulge in something sweet. 
  • Stop drinking alcohol 3 hours before bedtime and hydrate well throughout the day and evening. Keep it to 1 serving; if you have 2 servings, don’t mix the alcohol types.

HABIT #2 – Feeling more stress with less time

According to a study, 88% of Americans say the winter holidays are the most stressful part of the year. With the end of the year at work and possibly more traveling than usual, the stress and rush to buy presents, and the expectations of perfect holidays, people can experience feeling overwhelmed.

Three things can happen as a result:

  • We push ourselves to do more and more and forget to take care of ourselves 
  • We can get stressed financially more than ever 
  • We can have a hard time living up to the holiday’s expectations

What happens in our bodies because of this?

Our deep anxieties and fears quickly surface during this time. Because it’s expected that the holidays are a happy time, it is even harder to express our discomfort and be authentic with where we are. 

This only exacerbates any emotional or physical unease we might already be having. It may even keep us up at night!

How to fix it this and decrease your anxiety

  • Set clear boundaries. How do you do it? Truly listen to your body. What is the immediate emotion you have for the situation? 
  • Check-in with your gut and check in with your heart. If it’s not a “hell yes,” I would say it’s a “big NO.” 
  • It may be a little uncomfortable, but being true to your needs is the best thing you can do for your well-being (then you can be there for the people you love when they need you).

HABIT #3 – Experiencing more emotional ups and downs

The family dynamics around the holidays can be complicated for some of us. You may be among the many people who see holidays trigger family issues and upsets. Or perhaps you don’t have family around, which pains you more than anything else.

Three things can happen as a result:

  • You relive old trauma and feel super upset 
  • You feel the profound isolation and loneliness 
  • You watch family conflict come alive yet again
What happens in our bodies because of this? 

Sleep issues can easily get exacerbated, we overthink everything, the anxiety can heighten, and we can often feel trapped in the sea of what seems like infinite conflicting and upsetting emotions.

How to fix it, feel happier and sleep better

  • The best you can do now is to be authentic with your emotions. Feel them through your body and let them go, one by one. Feel fear as deeply as you can for 5, 10, or 15 minutes until it gradually dissipates. If you feel anger, also feel it fully. No judgment about what you feel; just feel the emotion. 
  • To work on the more profound trauma, I recommend one of my favorite books, “Letting Go” by David Hawkings, MD. Please gift yourself this book as the most significant gift of this year. 
  • Another fantastic gift you can give yourself is the Nonviolent Communication book by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. If you read and practice what these books teach, your life will be changed forever.

Happy Holidays!

Please check out my book—The Deep Blue Sleep Book, A Roadmap to Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep Naturally.

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