Sleep Hygiene for the Holidays

Written by: Cypress HomeCare Solutions

Thank you to Dr. Michael Breus for taking the time to share his expertise with us in a fun and festive way! Dr. Breus, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He was one of the youngest people to have passed the Board at age 31 and, with a specialty in Sleep Disorders, is one of only 168 psychologists in the world with his credentials and distinction.

  • Watch out for the Egg Nog Nightcap. If you are drinking alcohol/egg nog (at a holiday party) remember that while it may make you fall asleep quickly, it prevents you from reaching deep sleep. Drink one glass of water for every glass of holiday cheer. Not only will it slow down your drinking but it will prevent you from getting dehydrated which is why you get a hang over!
  • Wean the Holiday Bean. While there are some great holiday coffees to try, drink higher caffeinated beverages in the morning and move to lower ones in the mid afternoon. Try to move to water by 2-3 pm. While may of my patients tell me “ I can drink an espresso and go to bed” they may be correct but the sleep they are getting is more jittery then they are!
  • The Double Whammy. If you are going out with friends and to a holiday party (see tip #1) try to get to bed on time! Most people stay out late and they drink too much-no wonder they feel horrible in the am.
  • Cardio not Cappuccino. Exercise (specifically 20-30 minutes of aerobic) is one of the single best ways to improve the quality of your sleep. Research shows that those who have a regular exercise program get deeper sleep.
  • Rudolph’s Bright Nose. Light is the single biggest factor telling your body that it is morning, in the evenings use a book light for reading, change bulb wattage to 45 at the bedside table, and use a night light in the bathroom to get you there and back to sleep. Remember to turn off your tree lights at night!
  • Bothersome bed partners. Kids, pets and snoring bedmates can all disrupt sleep, if you have any or all, make a new set of rules: Silence is golden. Consider earplugs (Noise Level Rated at 32 or below so you can still hear the fire alarm) or a sound machine. Both can be a great gift.
  • Pillow Talk. Your pillow should be replaced every year. If it has just “broken it” what is to keep it from continuing to break! Choose a pillow based on what side you sleep on, if you have back pain, and your allergies!
  • Staying up late for those holiday specials. Many of my patients sheepishly tell me that they sleep with the TV on, watching all the great holiday specials from their childhood! While I too love Frosty, be sure to put on a TV timer so it does not keep anyone up the rest of the night.
  • Time Zone Terror. When traveling across time zones it may affect your sleep. Give your body a full day for each time zone to recover. If you have guests coming from another time zone, their sleep schedule may affect yours!


Copyright 2015 The Sleep Doctor, Michael Breus, PhD

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