Category Archives: holidays

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

Tubby Bunnies, Moral Panic and A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Let’s truss up Santa!  (Photo provided by Coley Chen under Creative Commons License.)

 

        
Over the past few months, few things have driven home the overblown panic surrounding fat people than this recent article on the Hopper Home Bunny Blog declaring an “obesity emergency” among pet rabbits.  That’s right.  Although rabbits consume the lowest amount of “junk food” among household pets at 26%, they are BLOWING UP at an alarming rate.  26% of British Bunnies apparently equates to over 430,000 rotund rabbits!  These thousands of rabbits are “at risk of developing obesity related and certainly life-threatening disease if their diets don’t improve.”  Lock up your children!  Stay indoors!  Somebody better develop Lapin Band surgery for these corpulent cottontails.
One week later, this statement came out demonstrating the moralistic food police in a total tizzy over trick or treating.  UPI hosted a statement that pointed out that kids gather between 3,500 and 7,000 calories during trick or treating.  Oh the horrors!  They even noted that (gasp) the U.S. President and First Lady handed out CANDY to trick or treaters at the White House.  Donna Arnett, head of the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health suggests that people give kids money instead of candy (because kids love money), and that parents hand out pedometers to their kids and give a prize (non-food of course) to the kids with the most steps.  Okaaaaay.
Well we’re smack dab in the middle of this holiday season, and I wonder, who else is going to be implicated in this obesity epidemic?  Will we truss up St. Nick next to the holiday turkey and serve him up as a bad role model?  I mean, that guy could stand to lose a few, right?  Are we going to put Baby New Year on a diet?  Maybe that kid could live longer than a year if he ate a little broccoli, right?  And the prescription for the Easter Bunny goes without saying (see above).
I’d like to suggest that we all take a holiday from weight obsession.  Can we take a few weeks to work on managing our stress and getting a little bit of good sleep?  Can we choose to enjoy holiday treats openly and while we’re hungry for them, rather than denying ourselves, and then closet eating all the Christmas cookies?  Can we engage in regular, rational and pleasurable physical activity, rather than doing nothing until New Years and then weekend warrioring ourselves right into an injury?  Can we all just take a deep breath and calm down?  That’s my plan and my holiday gift to you.  Sleep in heavenly peace my friends.
Love,
The Fat Chick.