Exercise! Shopping! Parties! More shopping! Family events! Deadlines! More parties! Sleep? As we go full steam ahead into the holiday season our schedules tend to fill and our quality time to rest begins to suffer. You try to juggle all of your obligations while you begin to skimp on the most important things to keep you well. You wear yourself thin and your immune system starts to weaken. Try to recall how you feel when the holidays are over. Do you end up catching a cold after all of the madness of the holidays is done? Do you find yourself saying, “I need a vacation.” The holiday season is a great time for festivities and celebrating with friends and family, but it is also a time when you start to deprive your body of the crucial necessity of sleep. If you want to continue to have that holiday glow without all the tricks of makeup, make sure you’re getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of solid rest every night.
You know that sleep is good to avoid dark circles or bags under the eyes but did you know how critical sleep is for your health? The most important time for sleep occurs between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM. This has been shown to be the most important time for the body to repair itself from workouts and daily stress while assisting in the regulation of hormones. During restful sleep, the body produced growth hormone, which assists the body in stimulating the production of other hormones that are responsible for fat loss. When you are depriving your body of the sleep it needs for prolonged period of time your body will begin to rebel. Yes, we all have those parties to attend and all of the shopping that needs to get done. But doing this over the course of many weeks will place the body under stress. When you’re under stress, the hormone cortisol kicks into high gear.
Cortisol assists the body in reducing inflammation and is necessary to keep us functioning and responding to stress. However, placing your body under stress for a prolonged time, such as sleep deprivation, will produce elevated levels of cortisol. The result? Slowed metablism, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, lowered immune system.
Lack of sleep will age you quickly and will give you the exact opposite of what you’re striving for in this industry. Here are some tips for getting through the holidays while being mindful of your sleep:
1. Schedule your sleep. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule will help you become mindful of the rest you are giving your body. Look at your week ahead and determine how much sleep you will be able to get every night.
2. Take naps. When you have those nights that you know you will be out late and have to rise early, schedule time for a 15-minute nap in your day. Giving your body time to rest will be beneficial.
3. Avoid caffeine after noontime.
4. Limit alcohol. If you are already pushing your body on limited sleep, adding alcohol will only assist in raising your cortisol levels. In addition, alcohol can interfere with deep, restful sleep.
5. Avoid watching television or checking the internet at least one hour before sleep. The images on the screen will raise brain activity and make it more difficult to quiet the mind as you settle down for your rest.