Surviving the Holidays: Get Some Sleep!

Now don’t laugh when I ask this, but seriously.  When is the last time you got a good night’s sleep?  I know during the holidays (at least in MY life) this is one of the first things to go right out the window.  I stay up to wrap one more present, address one more Christmas card, bake one more holiday favorite and before you know it, it’s tomorrow.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dragged myself up the stairs in the wee hours of the morning and collapsed in the bed.  And maybe no other creature (including the proverbial mouse) is stirring at the crack of dawn in my house, but I am.  I’m up early doing all the stuff I would normally be doing, but put off because of holiday obligations.  Tis the season to be surly, cranky and get sick because we just need a little shut-eye.

In the health magazines, I’ve seen lots and lots of articles about how NOT to eat holiday treats or (gasp) gain holiday pounds.  What I haven’t seen is much of any information about the need for sleep.  This despite the fact that there is ample evidence that going without sleep is really bad for your health.  A recent study showed that shift workers are more likely to suffer from diabetes, and the thinking is that the sleep disturbances have a lot to do with it.  (Poor Santa.  Maybe he should deliver presents during the day.)

But diabetes is just one of many potential health effects of not getting enough sleep.  Aside from increased accidents on the road and at work, sleep deprivation is linked to a host of other ailments including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Mental impairment
  • Disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality
  • Poor quality of life

Yikes!  And let’s not discount “disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality”.  This is probably not a formula for a happy marriage.  I wonder if Mrs. Claus has to sleep with the pillow over her head when jolly ol’ St. Nick finally crawls in to the sack at the North Pole.

But seriously, going without sleep over the holidays is NOT a good thing.  Aside from the potential health risks, it makes you cranky as heck, and all the more likely to bite Aunt Ethel’s head clean off when she asks you (again) when you’re getting married.  Not. Good.

So how do you fit sleep in during the holidays?  First off, you need to prioritize it.  Here’s an exercise I sometimes do.  I set my alarm to go off when it’s bedtime.  This reminds me that it’s time to wrap up WHATEVER I’m doing and go to sleep.  Sometimes that means some things don’t get done.  After all, this blog post was supposed to go up LAST week.  But is the world still turning?  Let me check…

Getting sleep is also about managing your holiday obligations and your holiday expectations.  We’ll be talking about both of those things in the weeks ahead.  But not right now, because it’s time for me to get some shut eye.

So my little chicklettes, my plea for you is to find some time to lay down your fluffy little heads and head off to dreamland.

Love,
The Fat Chick

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