In our last article, I stated that the holiday is a day or period set aside merry-making celebration, and rest to re-energize for the next activity period.
I also recounted an over-packed schedule of holiday responsibilities that make it difficult to keep healthy habits. The holiday activities jeopardize the three pillars of health – which are healthy eating, exercise and sleep. I called for a focus on healthy practices, because sleep allows human bodies to rest and improve physically and mentally and good sleep habits simultaneously take care of other compromised habits like exercises and healthy eating. Adopting the needed focus on sleep calls for choosing sleep as one of the best holiday gift for self and others!
The reality is that it is difficult to achieve good sleep amidst holiday activities, but there are tips for quality sleep during the holidays.
To start with, our relationship with sleep needs reform. A change of attitude towards sleep is required. The renewed mind-set will foster prioritization of wellness, appreciation of sleep worth, recognition of threats to seep and determination to sleep well during the holidays. Also, a more organized time spent sleeping will be cultivated by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and routine. It helps the regularity of our sleep-wake cycle. You achieve consistency by maintaining the same bedtime and wake time, and by practicing bedtime rituals of relaxing activities.
Taking care of our sleep during holidays isn’t just about having the right attitude to sleep and a regular sleep schedule. Holiday sleep also depends on how well we treat our bodies and our ability to cope with the environment.
One way of treating our body well is by eating frequent smaller portions of unprocessed, high-fibre foods and low-carbohydrate diets; and avoiding eating heavy meals of carbohydrate, protein, sugary and fatty foods. They contribute to daytime fatigue and sleepiness that disrupt the sleep schedule by causing the body to work harder to digest the foods and promote sleep-inducing chemicals in the body. Heavy meals should be avoided within one to two hours before bedtime. Digestion slows when we sleep. Light snacks, like nuts or pieces of fruit, will make sure you don’t go to bed hungry, and that your sleep isn’t disturbed, either.
Endeavour to quit drinking at least two hours before bedtime to minimize its impact on your sleep. Alcohol affects sleep especially when taken in large amounts around bedtime. Alcohol makes us fall asleep faster and sleep heavier during the first portion of the night but disrupts our sleep during the second half of the night because halfway through the night, some chemical reactions in the liver will change the alcohol into an awakening substance. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink or two — it is the holidays, after all!
Another good body treatment is daily exercise. To sleep well, squeeze in some exercises daily such as fast walking, push-up sets, etc. Regular exercises will help you fall asleep in the evening and possibly burn off some calories from holiday meals, killing two birds with one stone.
Stress should be managed and kept as low as possible. Stress causes a pre-bedtime disturbance, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. We should limit screen time, turning off all screens at least half an hour before bed.
Let us also drink plenty of water, stop the intake of smoking and limit consumption of other stimulants like caffeine.
Finally, sleeping on a quality mattress and pillow that are conducive to supportive posture is icing on the cake.
We will enjoy the holidays more if we have good sleep — and we actually get more done if we aren’t tired from sleep deprivation.
Vitafoam® wishes you lots of sleep this holiday season!
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