Holiday Sleep Tips

The holiday season is synonymous with the traditions of tranquility and relaxation with friends and family. But, instead of “peace on earth”, we’re more likely to be dealing with “stress on the brain,” as we attempt to rush through our gift-buying, decorate our houses, prepare for parties, make travel plans and more!

With little time to get what can seem like an overwhelming amount done, something is bound to be pushed to the bottom of our of list – and more often than not, it’s quality sleep. But, although you may think you can just make up those hours later, lack of regular sleep is linked to depression, overeating and risk of illness.

The holidays are not going to suddenly get less busy, so it’s up to you to pace yourself and focus on keeping healthy habits throughout the season and the rest of the year. Not sure how that’s possible? We’ll give you some tips:

Stick to a Normal Sleep Schedule

Late night parties, staying up wrapping gifts, midnight caroling sessions – the reasons NOT to sleep during this season seem endless. But without regular snoozing, you’ll lack the energy to keep up with all the activities that bring meaning to the holidays.

As much as possible, stick to your regular sleep schedule each night, rather than putting off those hours of rest. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, regardless of your plans. Keeping it consistent will reinforce your sleep cycle and ensure you’re getting the rest you need.

Don’t Eat (or Drink) Two Hours Before Bedtime

The holidays are all about eating and drinking – but doing so too close to bedtime can cause stomach issues and interrupt your sleep schedule. Big meals can take hours to digest and make your body work harder during the night. Plus, sugar-laden, starchy desserts wreak havoc on your energy levels and may keep you up at night while making you feel sluggish during the day.

A nightcap (or two) may seem like the perfect way to end a holiday party, but even if you initially fall asleep easily, alcohol processed by your body may hamper your quality of rest. Alcohol also negatively affects your amount of REM sleep – an important cycle that happens during your sleep schedule to refresh and repair your body.

You KNOW you’re going to go off your diet during the holiday season – so don’t try to deny yourself some treats. But, keep ample time between feasting and bedtime, and try to walk off that last slice of pie before turning in.

Get Regular Exercise

Who has time to exercise during the holidays? – is what you might be thinking. But sneaking in a workout or two will help keep stress levels down and improve your sleep quality

Remember, exercise isn’t only defined as time spent at the gym. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Join some friends for a wrapping party. Laugh as much as possible. Try to find activities that combine a festive spirit with your physical exertion – and knock off a couple of turtledoves with one snowball.

Getting adequate sleep during this time of year may seem like another item on your holiday to-do list that will never get done, but regular rest will empower you to make it through all the seasonal activities that you hold near and dear with joy and cheer to spare.

Keeping your teeth healthy is an important objective too – during the holidays and all year round. With locations in Alexandria, VA and Washington DC, DC Smiles provides a holistic approach to dental care that incorporates total-body health and wellness. Learn more at