December 14

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8 Reasons To Gift Yourself With Sleep This Holiday Season – And Why You’d Be Crazy Not To

By Rachel Haverkos

December 14, 2017


8 Reasons To Gift Yourself With
Sleep This Holiday Season

 
- and Why You'd Be Crazy Not To

The holidays.

It’s that time of year again, full of contrasts.

Busy. Hectic. Rewarding. Renewing.

The happiness of celebrating with loved ones, the sorrow of missing those absent.

The joy of giving (and receiving!) and the stress of debt and bills.

Wanting to do everything, yet needing time to rest and be too.

How to balance it all?

Surprisingly, I would say to ….. sleep!

Sleep?  When there is so much to do? Sounds crazy…..

8 Reasons Why....

Here’s why I think you’d be wise to prioritize sleep. (I have to remind myself of this too!)

I think I know what you truly want for the holidays. And, I can show you how quality abundant sleep will help you get it.

[The information below is summarized from Dr. Matthew Walker’s new book Why We Sleep – a great read, and a relevant gift idea for those tempted to skimp on sleep. Additional points added from Sleep Interrupted by Steven Park, M.D. – an informative book about breathing-related sleep issues.]


1. You want to be healthy. Not blowing your nose at the Christmas party. Not cancelling dinner at your house because of the flu. Sleep an average of 5 hours a night? Your infection rate will be almost 50% per exposure, as compared to just 18 % if you sleep 7 hours or more.

2. You want to connect with family and friends, and be in a good mood while doing so. You don’t want people wondering what’s wrong with you, after you left. The better rested you are, the less pendulum-like your moods swings will be – and the more you’ll enjoy yourself too.

3. You want the best deals as you shop for gifts. Did you know that Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM) can help you to accurately read the faces of others? And that a depletion of REM sleep can make you feel like the world is out to get you – you can’t distinguish friend from foe? Hone your perceptive skills, and find the winning gift. 

4. Selfies? Group photos? You bet! Want to look good in the photos? Of course! Sleep can help with this too. Yes, there is research proving this, but you already know it. “Beauty Sleep” isn’t just a metaphor!

5. Speaking of photos and appearance, dare I ask - any concerns about weight gain? You too? Chances are, you already know that the less sleep you get, the more you want to eat. And not health food – quick carbs and junk. Getting enough sleep will help you not gain extra weight in the first place!

6. Chances are, you want to look good socially too. To remember your colleagues’ spouses name. To remember who likes which type of wine. To mesmerize your friends with a captivating story. You can do this if you’re well rested. And, not so much (one study shows a 40% reduction) if you’re not well rested.

7. You also want to perform well – to cook a wonderful meal, to play the concerto perfectly, to score the last point. Again, deep sleep to the rescue – you can do it!

8. And, when you can’t find your car in the parking lot, or you burn the turkey, or drop the plate of chocolate truffles, you want to know that you can creatively turn the situation around – quickly! Again, good sleep is your friend. It will help you to stay cool, calm and creative.

Time To Commit....

So, I invite you. Get your Calendar out. Where can you allow yourself a full 7 or 8 hours of sleep? I challenge you – comment below, and let us know which days you’re committing to getting a full restful night’s sleep. No skimping!

Great. Now you’ve got sleep opportunity covered – you’ve scheduled in some sleep. And committed to it. How can you avoid some of the common pitfalls that might keep you awake? Or poorly sleeping?

But How?

A few suggestions:

1. Alcohol? Avoid it. At least in the 2 – 3 hours before you go to bed. Several reasons: It keeps you from getting REM sleep. It wakes you up for the bathroom. And it further relaxes tongue muscles which can exacerbate breathing problems while you sleep.

2. Eating within 2 – 3 hours before bedtime? Don’t. Eat earlier. You’ll fall asleep better, and they’ll be less stomach contents to come back up the wrong “pipe,” disrupting your sleep and breathing. If you’re hosting a party, strive to have your guests eating dinner by 7:00, and heading home by 10:00.

3. Drinking coffee with dinner? Nope. Even Decaf? Nope – not after 2 pm.

4. Do exercise in the morning, especially in the daylight; this helps set your internal “Clock” and it’s been shown to greatly enhance your ability to sleep. And it protects your brain from dementia.

You Can Do It - And It's Worth It

Promise me something. Let’s say you read the above list, and you feel you can’t do what it says. Please don’t be discouraged. Don’t drink the whole bottle of scotch because you can’t give up one drink before bed.

Just look for one thing you can do, however small, and focus on doing this.

Write it down.

Tell us below.

Do it consistently.

Reward yourself each time you do it; smile and feel good!

Why? Because what I think you (and I) most want during the holidays is to feel renewed and refreshed within ourselves – connected to all that is most positive within us.

And then to successfully share this with others, in a meaningful way.

Good sleep can give us this – it’s like an elixir that makes the magic of the holidays come true.

What are you waiting for? Enjoy abundant restful sleep, and the holidays!

And if you would like more information on how to improve your sleep, or to instant message Rachel:

Rachel Haverkos

About the author

Rachel’s background in occupational therapy and health coaching contribute to her lifelong interest in brain health. People wanting to stay sharp hire her to help protect & enhance their brain, because they want to avoid dementia but don’t know how. So she gives them the knowledge, clarity, and confidence needed to be their vibrant best self, for life. Through Vibrant Brain For Life, she shares evidence-based tools, strategies, and resources online and in person. When not at her desk, she’s likely enjoying the wildflowers of Sedona, or greeting guests at her Airbnb.

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