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Blog Feature

By: AAST Associate Editor on December 18th, 2019

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Holidays and Sleep

holidays | sleep

The holiday season is in full swing and that means endless cheer and celebration. The holidays may seem merry and bright, but this time of year can greatly impact how you and your family sleep. How do the holidays impact sleep? While you may enjoy the fa-la-la of the season, know that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can cause increased anxiety and depression, insomnia and changes in your sleep cycle. View the below studies and articles to learn more about how to healthily sleep during the holidays and avoid turning into Mr. Grinch. 

Find Your Holiday Happiness: Manage Anxiety and Depression

A holiday party with coworkers, gift exchanges, traveling away from home and large family gatherings can all increase stress levels which in turn can cause someone to become more anxious or depressed. People afflicted with these disorders often see their sleep patterns change. Depression and anxiety affect brain functions, including the sleep-wake cycle. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are plenty of ways to de-stress this holiday season. Be sure to take some time for yourself, feel comfortable turning down activities that heighten your feelings of anxiety and depression and be realistic with your expectations around the holidays.


Sleep, Sleepiness, and Alcohol Use

Increased alcohol consumption is common around the holidays due to the various gatherings and parties with family, friends and coworkers. Many people use alcohol as a sleep aid—and even come sleep technologists say its use should be allowed during a sleep test—but drinking can actually worsen your quality of sleep. According to a study from the Sleep Disorders and Research Center of the Henry Ford Hospital, higher alcohol consumption before sleep increases wake periods. It also contributes to daytime sleepiness. If you don’t want alcohol to negatively impact your sleep, try drinking water between every alcoholic beverage you consume or grab a fun holiday “mocktail” without the booze.


Jet Lag Disorder

This time of year usually means increased travel. While a plane ride across the country will get you from point A to point B quickly, flying can cause temporary sleep problems for people flying across time zones. Jet lag is a temporary sleep disorder when your body’s internal clock is in a different time zone than the one you’re currently in. While this feeling doesn’t last forever, it can be disruptive to travel plans. Luckily, there are ways to fight jet lag proactively to ensure you get the most out of your tip. Be sure to get plenty of rest before your trip even begins. Also consider adjusting your schedule to accommodate for the change in time beforehand. Say, if you’re traveling from California to New York, start going to bed a little earlier for a few days before you leave.


Holiday Shift Work: How to Get the Sleep That You Need

The holidays can greatly affect your sleep schedule, especially if you work a shift work job. In fact, a lot of people are affected by work place-induced sleepiness—and it greatly impacts the quality of work we do. But fear not: There are plenty of tools to improve your quality of sleep around these difficult times. Consider working some naps into your schedule to help recoup lost sleep. And don’t be afraid to turn down holiday invites if you’re tired and need to rest. Better yet, explain to your loved ones the complexities of your schedule and ask whether they’ll work with you.

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