It’s that time of year – food, friends, food, family, festive cocktails, and more food.  A recipe for great times, great memories and BAD SLEEP.  And stress, lack of sleep and travel are just a few of the culprits. Other things you may not consider as you find your sleeping less during the holidays:

What you eat will affect your sleep.  Going to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head may sound lovely – but not if the visions are nightmares!  Many of us eat more sugary, fatty and heavy foods during the holiday season, keeping us from falling asleep, and staying asleep.  Sugar and junk food too close to bedtime can actually cause nightmares – not to mention the possibility that the effect of an overabundance of carbohydrates on your brain can keep you awake and wired.

But don’t gholiday foodo to bed hungry – If you really need a bed time snack (even with all the extra holiday food), try eating small amounts of healthier and lower carbohydrate foods – just enough to take the edge off your hunger.

Give yourself time between eating and sleeping.  With family gatherings and holiday parties, we all experience eating too much and too late.  Try to put several hours between your last meal and going to bed.

Digestion is just harder when you are horizontal!  You run the risk of having your sleep disrupted by acid reflux and heartburn.  On the dramatic side, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that people with a risk of stroke decreased that risk by waiting longer between their last meal of the day and bedtime.

Alcohol is not a sleep aid.  Consuming alcohol can certainly make you sleepy – but the sleep you get is, well, bad.  And then there is the day after.  Best hangover remedy?  Prevent one by not drinking to excess.

Hangovers are caused by a multitude of the effects of alcohol:  dehydration, stomach irritation, and even an autoimmune response.  But if you do celebrate just a little too much:

  • Try drinking water while you are drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol and combat the dehydrating effects (gives you that massive headache).
  • Eat first – drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can increase alcohol absorption, and you might drink less on a full stomach.
  • Choose carefully – lighter colored beer and wine contain fewer congeners, and may be kinder to your morning after than dark liquor and red wine.

Celebrate your need for sleep. Still need to recover from the holidays? Consider celebrating The Festival of Sleep Day on January 3 – a day devoted to getting the rest you’ve missed during the holidays (we are not making this up)!